Tom Perez (D), who was first the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights and later the Secretary of Labor under President Barack Obama, has announced that he is running to become the next Governor of Maryland. The incumbent Governor, Larry Hogan (R), cannot run for re-election under state law. Perez is considered a strong candidate and Maryland may be the Democratic Party’s best chance of flipping a gubernatorial chair in 2022.
Perez enters the field as the single most prominent declared candidate for Governor yet on the Democratic side, though the field is a crowded one and his prominence obviously doesn’t secure him the nomination.
During the 2016 campaign season, when it became clear the Democratic Party was going to nominate Hillary Clinton, Perez was frequently named as a possible running-mate for her, though she ultimately choose Virginia Senator Tim Kaine for that role.
The Thing to Know:
While heading the civil rights division of the US Justice Department, Perez successfully challenged South Carolina’s effort to create a photo ID requirement for voting. He argued that there would be significant racial disparities in the consequences of the requirement. Given the current political climate around voting-related matters, this argument will likely come up in next year’s campaigning.