A Republican businessman will seek his party’s nomination for the District 3 seat in the Maryland Senate.
Craig Giangrande, who owns several local Burger King franchises, made his announcement Wednesday morning outside Winchester Hall. His family was set to host a private fundraiser with former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich on Wednesday evening at their home.
Giangrande, 52, is a first-time candidate in a race that’s been targeted for victory by the state Republican Party.
While he’s followed local politics closely for years, Giangrande said he hopes to bring an outsider, business approach to legislating, with goals to make the state more business friendly and make government more accountable to constituents.
“I think I’ll be able to put my best foot forward being a local businessperson that actually has hired people and put people to work. ... I do believe that that is what the district needs specifically and what the Maryland General Assembly needs generally,” Giangrande said.
Giangrande lives in downtown Frederick with his wife, Linda. They have lived in the district for 26 years and raised their children there, he said.
Giangrande co-owns a business with his brother, Jeffrey Giangrande Corp., and operates 15 Burger King franchises, including eight in Frederick County. The company has about 370 employees, Giangrande said.
He previously worked for five years as a police officer and still works as a “reserve officer” in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, on summer weekends and for large public events.
In a campaign news release, Giangrande listed his top priorities in the county:
- Create more and better jobs in Frederick.
- Streamline government bureaucracy and cut the waste.
- End the rigged system that sends our tax dollars to Baltimore.
- Prioritize education dollars to help students and teachers.
- Work to fight opioid abuse in our community.
- Break the corrupt system of partisan redistricting that strengthens special interest lobbyists.
That final point is a top priority of the state Republican Party.
Those elected during this campaign cycle will hold office during the next round of congressional and legislative redistricting; Maryland’s current map is the subject of a federal lawsuit alleging that Republican voters were unconstitutionally stifled through partisan gerrymandering.
The Maryland Republican Party is raising money statewide to eventually support candidates in five districts, including the 3rd.
If the party — which currently has 14 of the 47 seats in the Senate — can add five more Republican senators, it would gain the power to filibuster.
The five targeted seats were won by Democrats in 2014 with less than 52 percent of the vote, and all were won by Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
Democratic Sen. Ron Young, of Frederick, has that seat now, but he won it by a mere 614 votes in 2014.
Giangrande said that he and his wife “were very excited about this race in 2014,” and they supported the Republican candidate at the time, Corey Stottlemyer.
While disappointed with the outcome, they started to look ahead.
“At the time, we thought: What could be done to get that election over the top [for Republicans]? And we thought that a business person with a fresh perspective that had the wants and needs of his constituents top of mind, as opposed to typical partisan politics, would be well-received,” Giangrande said.
Linda Giangrande said she worked in 6th District Republican candidate Amie Hoeber’s office during the 2016 congressional race to learn more about the inner workings of a campaign.
She is serving as her husband’s de facto campaign manager for the time being.
Giangrande has not formally filed for candidacy with the Maryland State Board of Elections, but he plans to in the near future. He opened a campaign finance account last year and reported $49,979 cash on hand in the state’s annual report in January.That figure includes more than $35,000 in loans from Giangrande himself and a $6,000 contribution from his company.
Giangrande said he expects other Republicans will enter the race before next June’s primary.
Young has not made a formal announcement about re-election, but has maintained a campaign finance account during his tenure in the Senate. He said Wednesday afternoon that he intends to run, but thinks “it’s kind of early” to officially kick off a campaign. Despite the number of Republicans expected to file in the race and the state’s interest, Young said he thinks he could return to Annapolis.
“I think I can still win,” he said.
The 3rd Senate District includes southwestern portions of Frederick County, including the city of Frederick, Urbana, Point of Rocks and Adamstown.
The 2018 primary election is on June 26, 2018, and the general election is on Nov. 6, 2018.