After nearly a dozen trips to New Hampshire and Florida to explore a bid for president, former Maryland governor Bob Ehrlich is doing a rare thing this year: he decided not to run.
In an interview with the Globe, Ehrlich confirmed he would not become the 18th Republican to run for president. He said he thought the could advance the issues he cares about using a political action committee instead.
There are 17 Republicans and five Democrats running for president, making it the most crowded field for the White House in recent history. Ehrlich joins two other Republicans, former UN ambassador John Bolton and US Representative Peter King of New York, in turning down running for president after regularly visiting the early nominating states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina.
“We understand what it takes to win: building the foundation, raising the money and needing name recognition,” Ehlich said. “We think we can get the issues we care about most, like school choice and criminal justice reform, into the conversation.”
Ehrlich served in the US House and then one term as governor. He was defeated in 2006 by Democrat Martin O’Malley, who is running for president. He said he wasn’t going to endorse any of the other GOP candidates yet, though he did support Ohio Governor John Kasich’s brief bid for president in 2000.
The political action committee, which is called Turning Point America, will focus on issues facing working class Americans in key battleground states. Ehrlich said they have already hired their first staff member, former New Hampshire Republican Party Vice Chair J.P. Marzullo, who will focus on the Granite State.
James Pindell can be reached at James.Pindell@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jamespindell.