This year saw COVID-19 restrictions being lifted at the state level and later being reimposed in several local jurisdictions in response to rising hospitalization and positivity rates.
It saw the enactment of landmark police reform legislation, the adoption of a new congressional redistricting map, and the election of a new state treasurer.
So, what is in store for Maryland in 2022? And will that year be as eventful as was 2021?
Below is a snapshot of 5 possible stories that could dominate the state’s headlines in 2022:
1. Will pandemic lockdowns return to the state?
Gov. Larry Hogan recently said that this is unlikely to happen and the state has taken an active role in encouraging Marylanders to get vaccinated to try to reduce rising hospitalization and positivity rates.
But even if the state does not order a lockdown, local jurisdictions are free to make that choice.
Baltimore County declared a state of emergency earlier this week and joined several other jurisdictions in reinstating an indoor mask mandate.
So what may happen in the next few months is anyone’s guess.
2. Whom will the state elect as its next governor?
Gov. Larry Hogan is term-limited and cannot run again.
On the Republican side, state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz appears to have a lock on the nomination as she does not appear to have any serious primary challengers.
On the Democratic side, things are more complicated as nine candidates are vying for the nomination. The race includes seasoned political figures such as former DNC chair Tom Perez, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and former state attorney general Doug Gansler.
It also includes long-shot candidates such as former Robin Hood Foundation CEO Wes Moore and former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain.
But more than party dynamics are at stake in the contest.
If Schulz wins, she will be the state’s first female governor.
Alternatively, if the winner is either Perez, Moore, Jain, former U.S. Education Secretary John King Jr., or former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker-Maryland will have elected a person of color as governor for the first time in the state’s history.
3. Will Hogan run for U.S. Senate?
Though the governor has said that this position is not of major interest to him, a recent CNN report suggested that Hogan has not totally rebuffed concerted efforts by national Republicans to get him to run against incumbent Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen.
Van Hollen was elected by a wide margin in 2016 and is up for re-election in 2022.
Maryland has not had a Republican U.S. senator since Mac Mathias in the 1980s.
Hogan has not ruled out running for president in 2024, so his next move is anyone’s guess.
4. Whom will the state elect as its next comptroller?
After more than 14 years as the state’s chief tax collector, Franchot has decided to give someone else a chance to hold that office and is instead running for governor.
Del. Brooke Lierman, Baltimore City, appears to have a significant advantage over fellow Democrat and Bowie Mayor Tim Adams in terms of both fundraising and high-profile endorsements.
Meanwhile, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman is hoping to become the state’s first Republican comptroller in more than a century. He faces an uphill battle.
5. Whom will the state elect as its next attorney general?
Democrat Brian Frosh has held the position since 2015 and has decided not to run for a third-term.
Former Lt. Gov. and now-Rep. Anthony Brown, and former first lady and retired Baltimore judge Catherine Curran O’Malley are both running for attorney general. Both candidates are Democrats.
Both candidates have secured high-profile endorsements. The race is still in its early stages.
Brown served eight years as lieutenant governor to his primary opponent’s husband, then-Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Former Montgomery County Board of Elections chair Jim Shalleck is the only Republican who is a declared candidate for attorney general. Shalleck is a former prosecutor.
This article was originally published on MarylandReporter.com on Saturday, January 1, 2022.