Republican Kelly Schulz picks Hogan appointee as running mate in Md. governor’s race

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Republican Kelly Schulz on Tuesday announced Jeff Woolford, an assistant secretary and chief medical officer with the Maryland Department of Health, as her running mate in her campaign for governor.

Woolford, an Air Force veteran who served as a fighter pilot and flight surgeon, has held various positions for the past two years in the administration of Gov. Larry Hogan (R). In March 2020, he was named chief of staff of the Maryland Department of Human Services. He was then selected in July of that year to serve as the director of community and facility initiatives with the Maryland Department of Health, before being named an assistant secretary in April.

Woolford, a lieutenant colonel in the Maryland Air National Guard, was tasked with operating the state’s mass-vaccination clinic at Baltimore’s M&T Stadium.

“Jeff’s professional experience, personal character, and life story make him extremely qualified to serve as our next lieutenant governor,” Schulz, the former Maryland commerce secretary under Hogan, said in a statement.

Woolford, a native of Baltimore, lives in Carroll County with his wife and two children. He launched Parallax Enterprises, a health-care company that focuses on patient safety, in 2013.

Woolford is a political newcomer, having never run for public office. He joins Schulz in what is likely to be a bitter Republican primary against Del. Daniel L. Cox (R-Frederick), who has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, and former state delegate and perennial candidate Robin Ficker.

Schulz’s selection of Woolford provides gender balance to her ticket and continues a trend seen with other tickets in the Maryland gubernatorial race.

“I’m humbled by the opportunity and look forward to meeting with voters in every corner of the state,” Woolford said in a statement. “Over the last seven years, Maryland has made a lot of progress and I am committed to making sure we continue in the same direction.”

Schulz made the announcement on what was originally the filing deadline for the primary. The Maryland Court of Appeals recently decided to move the filing deadline for the June primary from Feb. 22 to March 22 as it weighs a ruling on a newly filed lawsuit challenging the legislative redistricting map approved by the General Assembly last month.

Woolford is the 10th candidate for lieutenant governor to be named.

Among Democrats, former Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez chose former Baltimore City Council member Shannon Sneed to join his ticket; former U.S. education secretary John B. King Jr. selected Michelle Siri, an attorney and women’s rights advocate; author and former nonprofit executive Wes Moore named former state delegate Aruna Miller; Comptroller Peter Franchot named Monique Anderson-Walker, a former member of the Prince George’s County Council; former Prince George’s County executive Rushern L. Baker III chose longtime Montgomery County Council member Nancy Navarro; former Montgomery County Council candidate Ashwani Jain named Maryland resident LaTrece Hawkins Lytes; former Maryland attorney general Douglas F. Gansler selected former Hyattsville mayor Candace Bacchus Hollingsworth; and liberal activist Jerome Segal named Eastern Shore town council member Justin Dispenza.

On the Republican side, Cox has selected as his running mate Gordana Schifanelli, an attorney from Queen Anne’s County.

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