Candidate Watch 2010: O'Donnell proves everyone could be a contender for governor ... maybe
Who isn’t considering running for governor on the GOP ticket?
Republicans are waiting to see who all emerges from their camp to challenge Gov. Martin O’Malley in the 2010 election. So far, a Towson lawyer has said he’ll run, a state delegate and a Cabinet member in former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich’s administration have expressed interest, and Ehrlich himself has kept open the possibility.
The latest potential entrant: state Del. Anthony J. O’Donnell, the House minority leader.
O’Donnell’s name was floated as a contender in C. Fraser Smith’s column in The Daily Record last week. Noting that the delegate said he might run, Smith surmised: "The Calvert and Charles County delegate is an effective voice-in-opposition for his party in Annapolis. But can he project the kind of leadership image a winning candidate must have?"
We caught up with O’Donnell this week. When asked about his intentions, he initially joked: "The rumor of my demise by running for governor are greatly exaggerated." He said he didn’t know where the rumor originated and that he currently doesn’t intend to launch a gubernatorial bid.
But he had one caveat: "My plans are subject to change if Gov. O’Malley scuttles a new nuclear power plant at Calvert Cliffs," he said. "That may tick me off enough for me to reconsider my plans."
O’Donnell and other Republicans are watching O’Malley’s repeated head-butting with Constellation Energy Group, and the governor’s latest effort to wrangle concessions from the Baltimore utility as it seeks regulatory approval to sell nearly half its nuclear power business to Electricite de France, a French utility.
Company officials have indicated they would abandon a proposed third reactor at Calvert Cliffs if the deal isn’t approved or if excessive conditions are imposed. O’Donnell is a former Calvert Cliffs supervisor, and the project could provide a huge economic boon for his corner of the state.
As for the other GOP contenders, Ehrlich has said he’s weighing a number of factors before deciding if he’ll run. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., who was Ehrlich’s appointments secretary, and state Del. Patrick L. McDonough have said they're actively exploring launching campaigns but would bow out if Ehrlich jumped in. And Michael Pappas, the Towson lawyer, insists he’s in it to win it.
CANDIDATE WATCH 2010 -- As the 2010 election season ramps up, we will be writing about candidates announcing their campaigns, or even just testing the political waters. If you have campaign news, please contact Laura Smitherman or Julie Bykowicz.