Baltimore Attorney Jim Shea Joins Pool of Dems Running for Governor

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Photo via Jim Shea/Facebook

Another Baltimore Democrat has entered the fray to fight for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s office next fall.

WBAL and the Baltimore Sun both report Shea formally announced his candidacy yesterday. Shea’s resume boasts positions as chairman of law firm Venable LLP, the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland, the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, the nonprofit Empower Baltimore and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.

He’s been building up to an announcement over the last couple months, criticizing Hogan’s absent or scant criticism for President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, plan to replace Obamacare and decision to remove the United States from the global Paris Climate Agreement. He also penned an op-ed in the Sun titled “Gov. Hogan failed Md. students,” citing cuts the governor made to education programs over the last three years.

This week, he hopped on a bus in Sandtown-Winchester to test out Hogan’s new BaltimoreLink bus system overhaul, and was not impressed.

Speaking with WBAL on Wednesday, Shea said he’s running because he’s “different” than the other candidates who’ve announced, and has shown in his work leading Venable LLP, the university system and other entities that he “know[s] how to get things done.”

He said education should be the state’s biggest priority, from pre-K through college, and added that congestion in central Maryland’s transportation infrastructure is “intolerable.”

Shea’s lack of experience in political office is a actually a common trait so far among his Democratic competitors. Tech entrepreneur and author Alec Ross and former NAACP president Ben Jealous have had considerable policy or advocacy experience, but have never held an elected post. Activist Ralph Jaffe is in the same boat.

In contrast, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, who announced his candidacy earlier this week, has served in his position since being elected in 2010, and Montgomery County state Sen. Richard Madaleno, who told supporters he’d be running in May, has held office in Annapolis since 2003.

Other potential candidates who have yet to announce include Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and U.S. Rep. John Delaney.

Hogan, meanwhile, has enjoyed high approval ratings over the last year and has managed not to align himself too closely with the controversial Trump administration.

While he hasn’t publicly bashed the president, his office did eventually speak out against Trump’s budget proposal that would cut funding for the Chesapeake Bay Program. Additionally, a Hogan spokeswoman yesterday criticized both health care overhaul proposals in Congress, saying they “do not work for Maryland.”

“Congress should go back to the drawing board in an open, transparent and bipartisan fashion to craft a bill that works for all Americans,” spokeswoman Amelia Chasse wrote in an email to the AP.

There’s still plenty of time for the gubernatorial race to heat up in Maryland. The primary election to decide who gets to fight Hogan for his spot is set for June 26, 2018.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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