Anthony Brown wants to be Maryland’s chief law enforcement official
As a young boy who started playing organized football at age 8, Anthony G. Brown was only ever interested in one position:
It meant being in a key role. And make important decisions. And ultimately it meant having yoursfate in your own hands.
“You’re touching the ball on every play and that gives you an opportunity to make a big impact and influence the direction of the team,” Brown, the Democratic nominee for Maryland attorney general, said in an interview at his campaign office at , Eight Blocks from US Capitol.
That ambition propelled his career as an elected official, Brown said, from his time as a delegate in the Maryland Convention, through two terms as lieutenant governor in Martin O’Malley’s administration, to his three terms as a representative of Maryland’s 4th District in the US Congress.
It’s an impressive political resume, but after a failed run for governor in 2014, it doesn’t yet include a quarterback role. When Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) announced he would not seek re-election, Brown said he saw the opportunity to become the state’s chief law enforcement officer as “an opportunity to make a bigger impact and on.” a total of 550 leading lawyers accessing the issues I have worked on all my life.”
Brown, 60, a Harvard Law School graduate, military attorney and US Army veteran who served in Iraq, describes himself as a “mainstream” politician. In his bid for Attorney General, a race for which he is heavily favored, Brown has pledged to uphold a woman’s right to an abortion, expand voting rights and civil liberties, crack down on gun and drug trafficking, campaign for… Deploy Marijuana Decriminalization and Surroundings.
Top of his agenda is fighting violent crime, which is a priority for many Marylanders this election cycle. It’s often the first issue voters bring up to him when he’s campaigning, Brown said. A Washington Post poll last month showed that crime is the most important issue for voters in Maryland, behind the economy and threats to democracy.
Brown said he wants to double the size of the attorney general’s organized crime division and improve partnerships with local prosecutors across Maryland to combat the rise in crime and successfully prosecute criminals.
But he doesn’t rely solely on a law-and-order approach. At a breakfast with Prince George’s County Democrats earlier this month, Brown, who would be Maryland’s first black attorney general, detailed plans to address injustices and root causes of lawlessness.
“Sure, we’re going to investigate, we’re going to bring charges, we’re going to focus on violent crime,” he said. “But if we don’t reform this criminal justice system and the juvenile justice system, we will make our way not only to a safer community, but also to a fairer one.”
Brown, who would take office as Maryland continues to work to implement law enforcement accountability legislation passed in 2021, wants more diversionary programs and mental health and support services, especially for young offenders. And he said he wants to identify biases in Maryland’s criminal justice system that have led to the excessive incarceration of young black men.
Brown also said it’s worth investigating whether the state can hold gun manufacturers liable in gun violence cases. Earlier this year, Baltimore sued a ghost gun manufacturer over the injuries and trauma these guns caused.
“Certainly, as Attorney General, I will look into what options exist in Maryland, either with existing Maryland law or with new laws that need to be introduced that will allow us to prosecute … arms manufacturers,” he said.
If he is to pursue all of his goals, Brown needs to make some changes at Annapolis. If elected, he said he would seek additional powers for the attorney general’s office from the Maryland legislature, including increased power to prosecute and prosecute price goers.
And he said the state’s chief legal officer, like other states, should have the authority to enforce federal and state civil rights laws in Maryland. Currently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights investigate and enforce civil rights laws.
Brown said he does not want to undermine or circumvent these agencies, but believes the attorney general “should be able to follow in the footsteps of Marylanders whose civil rights have been violated and initiate civil or criminal action to protect Marylanders.” .
“Now is the moment,” he said, that lawmakers must act to give the office that power, and Brown believes he will have support for that from the lawmakers and from Wes Moore (D) if Moore is elected governor .
Brown would also appoint a Chief Counsel for Justice and Ethics in the Attorney General’s Office who would not only address equity and diversity in the organization but would also question whether the legal representation and advice she provides to government agencies produces equitable outcomes leads.
Brown is heavily favored in his race against Republican nominee Michael Anthony Peroutka, a retired attorney and one-year member of Anne Arundel County Council. Peroutka has championed the health restrictions they put in place during the pandemic to stop the spread of Covid-19 on a platform to prosecute former state officials, including Governor Larry Hogan (R).
For the GOP’s nominee for attorney general, God’s law comes before Maryland’s
But Brown is careful to say that while he’s confident he’ll win, he doesn’t take victory for granted. It’s a lesson he has remembered since losing to outgoing Gov. LarryHogan (R) in 2014 in a race expected to win.
Almost nobody believes that a surprise is in the works this year.
Peroutka has said that abortion and same-sex marriage should not be legal, and he has questioned the legitimacy of the election results. And he has refused to deny his association with the League of the South, which has been classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. At a League of the South conference in 2012, he sang “Dixie,” calling it “the national anthem.”
“What Peroutka believes is not in tune with the average Maryland voter,” said Mileah Kromer, a political scientist at Goucher College who has studied Maryland’s elections for a decade. “And he’s a fundamentally better candidate than he was in 2014. And he’s undeniably qualified for the job.”
Moore and Cox shake hands, then take off the gloves in a solitary debate
Peroutka’s positions and past connections are unlikely to be popular with registered Democratic voters, who outnumber registered Republican voters by 2 to 1 in Maryland. And while he was endorsed by Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox, some prominent Maryland Republicans have voiced their disapproval of his candidacy.
Hogan blasted Peroutka for spreading conspiracy theories about the September 11 attacks. And David R. Brinkley, secretary of budget and management in the Hogan administration and longtime Republican lawmaker, said of Peroutka, “He’s not campaigning, he’s campaigning a crusade.”
Jim Shalleck, a prosecutor and former president of the Montgomery County Board of Elections who ran against Peroutka in the Republican primary, said he will vote for Brown in November.
“I just hate Peroutka’s positions,” Shalleck said in an interview.
Asked about Shalleck’s decision, Peroutka said he wasn’t surprised.
“Jim Shalleck is a nice guy and has a right to his opinion and I’m fine with that,” he said. “We were driving in completely different lanes, maybe on completely different freeways and in completely different directions. Just like Anthony Brown and me. Aside from the fact that both of our moms called us Anthony, I don’t think there’s anything quite like it.”
A Goucher College poll in September found Brown leading Peroutka 53 percent to 31 percent, with 15 percent undecided and 1 percent voting someone else.
Brown also enjoys a funding benefit. In late August, the Peroutka campaign reported that it had spent $35,046 on the campaign so far, with $36,169 available. The Brown campaign, which was facing a difficult primary campaign against retired Judge Katie O’Malley, had spent $530,546 with $80,094 on hand. And Brown has history on his side, too. A Republican has not been elected Attorney General in Maryland since 1919.
Despite the poll numbers, funding disparity and history, Peroutka said he expects to win the race. He said whether he will accept the election result “all depends on whether the implications of the details of election conduct are worthy of support.”
“Of course, if the results are fair, I will accept them,” he said.
Brown said he’s often asked why he would give up the security of a congressional seat in a predominantly Democratic district to run for attorney general. US House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D), representing Maryland’s 5th congressional district, said he was disappointed to lose Brown from the state’s delegation.
“I tried to convince him to stay in Congress. And that’s because, because he’s done such an exceptionally good job, he’s a positive, rational, and informed voice on national security,” Hoyer said. “But he’s also a Harvard-educated attorney, a very smart guy who was a deputy government official. Is a leader in the house. So he brings a really good amount of experience to the Attorney General’s job.”
The attorney general’s appeal, Brown said over breakfast, is the opportunity “to fight for the changes that will protect every person and strengthen every community.”
And, he might have added, the opportunity to play quarterback.