Baltimore Sun

Brown to face Peroutka in attorney general’s race

- By Jessica Anderson

U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown will square off against Michael Peroutka, a former Anne Arundel County councilman, in the November election to become Maryland’s next attorney general.

Brown defeated former Circuit Court Judge Katie Curran O’Malley of Baltimore, receiving about 60% of votes in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. Peroutka led the Republican race, taking about 58% of the votes over challenger Jim Shalleck, an attorney from Montgomery County.

Associated Press called the races early Wednesday.

If elected in November, Brown would become the state’s first Black attorney general, replacing outgoing Democrat Brian Frosh. Historical­ly, Republican­s have not fared well in that race; Maryland has not elected a Republican as attorney general in more than 100 years.

Brown will face Peroutka, who once belonged to League of the South, a self-described “Southern Nationalis­t organizati­on” that advocates for “preserving the traditiona­l culture of the South” for “Southerner­s of European descent.”

On social media Wednesday, Brown thanked his supporters.

“A heartfelt thank you to Maryland voters for putting their faith in me,” Brown said. “An Attorney General can either be a champion for progress or a defender of the status quo. I’m running for Attorney General to dismantle barriers because the status quo isn’t working for Marylander­s.”

O’Malley has not conceded the race, saying all mail-in ballots still must be counted. However, she expressed that she would support Brown in November, presuming he wins the primary.

“I want to congratula­te Congressma­n Anthony Brown on his early lead and on the great campaign that he ran. Regardless of the final outcome, I look forward to helping Democrats win up and down the ballot in November,” she said.

O’Malley sought to follow in her father’s footsteps as attorney general; Democrat J. Joseph Curran served in the office from 1987 to 2007.

The two Democratic candidates expressed similar views on several issues, including gun control,

protecting abortion rights and support for legalizing recreation­al cannabis.

But Brown, who represents most of Prince George’s County and a small part of Anne Arundel County, collected more than 60,000 votes in Prince George’s. He also fared better than O’Malley in her hometown of Baltimore. Brown also led in the Baltimore suburban counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford.

During the campaign, O’Malley criticized Brown for his lack of courtroom experience. She worked for 10 years as a prosecutor in Baltimore County before becoming a judge in Baltimore.

Brown, a Harvard-educated attorney, retired U.S. Army colonel and former state delegate, also served eight years as the state’s lieutenant governor under O’Malley’s husband, Democrat Martin O’Malley. Brown won the Democratic nomination to succeed O’Malley as governor in 2014 but lost in the general election to Republican Larry Hogan.

In 2016, Brown won a crowded Democratic primary to replace outgoing U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards in


Peroutka previously represente­d Severna Park, Millersvil­le, Arnold and Broadneck in the Anne Arundel council.

While on the council, the county’s Democratic Party urged him to resign. They cited his close relationsh­ip with Roy Moore, the former top judge in Alabama and Republican U.S. Senate candidate who was accused of inappropri­ate sexual conduct against multiple girls and women.

Peroutka lost a bid for reelection in the 2018 primary.

He also ran for president with the Constituti­on Party in 2004 and donated a $1 million dinosaur skeleton to Kentucky’s Creation Museum, which promotes Biblical creationis­m over the scientific theory of evolution.

Peroutka could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Shalleck, his opponent who previously worked as a prosecutor with New York’s attorney general’s office and an elections official in Montgomery County, had said he would expand the attorney general’s involvemen­t in prosecutin­g violent crimes.

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