U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown has defeated Katie Curran O’Malley in the Democratic primary for Maryland attorney general and is poised to become the first Black person to serve as the state’s chief legal officer.
The Associated Press called the race for Brown early on Wednesday.
“A heartfelt thank you to Maryland voters for putting their faith in me,” Brown said in a statement. “Our campaign’s message has resonated with voters and tonight’s results prove it.”
On Wednesday morning, with 2043 out of 2074 precincts in the state reporting, Brown earned 218,505 votes (59.63%), while O’Malley received 147,899 votes (40.37%), according to unofficial results from the Maryland State Board of Elections. Those numbers do not include 168,873 mail-in ballots that Democratic voters have returned, which election workers cannot begin processing until 10 a.m. on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the Republican primary, Michael Peroutka defeated Jim Shalleck, winning 115,119 votes (58.04%) compared to 83,240 votes (41.96%) with mail-in ballots still to be counted.
A Republican, however, would face long odds to winning in November. The last member of the GOP elected attorney general was Alexander Armstrong in 1919. Democrats also outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1 — or 1.24 million active registered voters.
The candidates are vying to succeed Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat who’s retiring after two terms.
Brown, 60, of Prince George’s County, has represented Maryland’s 4th Congressional District that includes parts of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties since 2017. He unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014.
He was lieutenant governor under her opponent’s husband. Brown served as a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Army from 1984-1989 and then went into the U.S. Army Reserve Judge Advocate General’s Corps, retiring as a colonel in 2014.
O’Malley, 59, of Baltimore, served as an associate judge on the District Court of Maryland in Baltimore from 2001-2021, during which time she presided over thousands of cases and worked as a drug treatment court judge.
She worked as an assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore from 1991-2001 and comes from a prominent political family.
Her husband, Martin O’Malley, served as mayor of Baltimore from 1999-2007 and governor of Maryland from 2007-2015. Meanwhile, her father, J. Joseph Curran Jr., was the state’s longest-serving attorney general from 1987-2007.
In a statement, O’Malley thanked her supporters but did not concede the primary.
“I believe that every Marylander deserves their vote to be counted and that we should let the process continue as mail-in ballots begin to be counted on Thursday,” O’Malley said. “I want to congratulate Congressman Anthony Brown on his early lead and on the great campaign that he ran.”
No matter the outcome, O’Malley said, she looks forward to helping Democrats win on Election Day.
Both Brown and O’Malley share many of the same policy positions — for instance, they both cite addressing gun violence as a priority — but have sparred over whose experience is more relevant to the position.
In one ad, O’Malley states, “My opponent, Anthony Brown, is a fine congressman. But he’s never tried a criminal case in Maryland.”
A super PAC, VoteVets, later made a $400,000 media buy on an ad that, in response, proclaims, “What a shame” and states that O’Malley “just dismisses the experience of one of the most qualified people to ever run for attorney general.” She reported that she filed a complaint with the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Either candidate would be historic. O’Malley would have been the first woman to serve as attorney general.
Peroutka, 70, of Pasadena, served on the Anne Arundel County Council from 2014-2018.
In 2004, Peroutka unsuccessfully ran for president as the nominee of the Constitution Party, receiving 143,630 votes.
He is a former member of the League of the South, a southern secessionist group. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the organization as a hate group.
Shalleck, 76, of Montgomery Village, is a former prosecutor who most recently served as president of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
During his career, Shalleck served for 12 years in the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, where he stated that he prosecuted David Berkowitz, the serial killer known as the “Son of Sam.” That’s along with working for the U.S. Department of Justice.
He’s previously run for Montgomery County state’s attorney and executive.
Neither Peroutka nor Shalleck could immediately be reached for comment.
The attorney general serves a four-year term. The job is set to pay $149,550 in 2022.
Election Day is Nov. 8.