With the 2008 Presidential election behind us, it's now time to focus on 2010. For those that say it's way too early, just look around and you'll already see certain people jockeying for various offices. As it looks now, Martin O'Malley will not face a serious challenge in the Democratic primary. Initially, I thought Peter Franchot would step up. That being said, I think he may be eying a different seat. (More on that in a later post.) Obviously, the Republicans will not allow O'Malley to go unopposed. Therefore, who are the contenders in line for this opportunity?
Naturally, everyone mentions former Governor Bob Ehrlich. I think that possibility fizzled completely when Andy Harris lost his bid for Congress. Besides, Ehrlich had his chance against the same weak opponent in 2006 and failed to deliver. No doubt, Bob Ehrlich will not enter any race he does not think he can win. Hence, I think he declines the invitation all together.
Next, Michael Steele makes for an interesting choice. With Steele, we have a down to earth conservative who had the misfortune of running against a squeaky clean Democratic Congressman back in 2006. Still, he managed 44% of the vote in this blue state. Currently, Steele has his eye on being the heading of the RNC. If he secures that position, it's highly unlikely he'd focus on a Maryland Gubernatorial run.
Third, there's always John Leopold. Although most people are not aware of this, John Leopold once ran an unsuccessful campaign for Governor of Hawaii. Therefore, it's not a stretch to think he's weighing his options. Should he elect to seek this seat, he would not be allowed to seek re-election as Anne Arundel County Executive. Granted, he can only serve one more term as County Executive anyway and he'll likely be viewed as too old in 2014.
After Leopold, the last big name contender would be Roscoe Barlett. Barlett remains a popular figure in Western Maryland. That being said, he did have to camapign harder in 2008 than in previous years. Really, that may have shown him it's time to try a new venture prior to retiring from political life.
After this group, the Republicans are left with a bunch of sacrificial lambs with limited ability to compete. Admittedly, none of the names listed above are slam dunks themselves. Still, they are the biggest names on the market. As someone unimpressed with the current Governor, I am hoping someone can emerge as a legitimate contender.