BALTIMORE SUN: Jon Baron, former nonprofit exec and federal official, launches Democratic campaign for Maryland governor

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Jon Baron, a former nonprofit executive and former federal official from Montgomery County, officially launched a campaign for governor of Maryland as a Democrat after several months of publicly weighing a run to replace outgoing term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in 2022.

Baron’s campaign launch Monday adds his name to a deep roster of Democrats already vying for the nomination, including several current and former statewide office holders and other prominent figures in Maryland politics.

Baron, 58, is a first-time political candidate. Last month, he resigned his post as vice president of Arnold Ventures, a Texas-based philanthropy backed by billionaire couple John and Laura Arnold, to focus on his campaign. Baron previously led the nonprofit Coalition for Evidence-Based Policy from 2001 until its dissolution in 2015, held a post at the Pentagon under President Bill Clinton’s administration, and was appointed to boards and commissions by both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

In interviews with The Baltimore Sun and in his campaign announcement, Baron touted his experience with “evidence-based approaches” to public policy issues, contending he’d lean on social science research to design government programs and build randomized controlled studies into pilot programs.

“For decades, we’ve failed to make meaningful progress on some of our toughest challenges. Today, a quarter of Maryland middle schoolers still can’t read at a basic level. Wages are stagnant as income inequality has grown. Healthcare costs keep rising. And racial inequities persist in all these areas,” Baron said in announcing his campaign. “Clearly, it’s time for a different approach. When I’m governor, we’ll tackle these long-term challenges with strategies proven to work — and we’ll test bold new ideas and expand those that are most effective. Let’s do what works.”

Baron is among eight other Democratic hopefuls currently running for the party’s nomination in 2022, with others still rumored to be mulling bids. Author Wes Moore launched his own bid earlier this month, joining state Comptroller Peter Franchot; former Attorney General Doug Gansler; former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker IIIJohn B. King, who served as federal education secretary in President Barack Obama’s cabinet; Baltimore tech entrepreneur and businessman Mike Rosenbaum; and Ashwani Jain, who worked in the Obama White House.

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