BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Thursday endorsed Thiru Vignarajah for Baltimore City State's Attorney.
It is the first time Hogan, a Republican, has endorsed a Democratic candidate. The governor has long taken aim at incumbent Marilyn Mosby, blaming policies like her choice to no longer prosecute certain crimes for Baltimore's violent crime problem.
"For far too long, violent criminals have been allowed to terrorize the streets of Baltimore with impunity," Hogan said in a statement. "Every single day, the people of Baltimore pay a steep price for that failure with lost loved ones, terrified families, and countless lost potential. This crisis rises above partisan politics. It's not about right or left. It's about right and wrong."
Vignarajah, a high-profile attorney who ran unsuccessfully for state's attorney in 2018 and mayor in 2020, joined Democrats Ivan Bates and Roya Hanna when he filed to run last week. Hanna indicated she will run as an independent.
After cutting his teeth as a federal prosecutor, Vignarajah became chief of major investigations for the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office, and in 2015 he was appointed deputy attorney general of Maryland. Afterward, he went into private practice as a litigation partner for the DLA Piper law firm.
More recently, Vignarajah has made public appearances advocating for the rights of the owners of bars and strip clubs located on "The Block," challenging an effort to impose a curfew on those establishments' hours of operation.
"Fighting violent crime is supposed to be the job of local leaders," Vignarajah said. "For eight years, the governor has done his best to support the city in its battle against violent crime. But Governor Hogan knows that without leadership at the local level this fight is infinitely harder than it needs to be. In a moment of crisis like this, public safety must come before partisan politics. I am honored and overwhelmed by the Governor's endorsement, which follows in the best traditions of our city and state."
Vignarajah's campaign announcement last week touted an endorsement from Fairfax County, Virginia, Police Chief and former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, who called Vignarajah the "gold standard." Gov. Hogan is by far his highest-profile endorsement.
It remains unclear whether Mosby will run for another term as state's attorney. She has yet to file for reelection, and, if convicted of federal perjury and false statement charges at trial, she could be ineligible to hold public office.
The deadline to file to run for office is April 15 for the July 19 primary.
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