LARGO, Md. (WJZ) — The 2014 race for governor of Maryland begins now. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown announces his candidacy at a picnic in Prince George’s County.

Rochelle Ritchie has more on his public campaign kickoff.

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Lt. Governor Anthony Brown makes it official–he wants to lead the state when two-term Governor Martin O’Malley leaves office next year.

“I declare my candidacy to be the next governor, your governor, of Maryland,” he told the crowd.

Brown is in his seventh year as lieutenant governor for the state of Maryland.

As O’Malley’s right hand man, he will run on the record of being part of the team which helped to repeal the death penalty, pass same-sex marriage and implement some of the strictest gun laws in the country.

“I’m asking you to join me as friends and neighbors, as one community built on strong families and neighbors helping neighbors,” he said.

Even with all these successes, Brown tells supporters more work needs to be done.

“We need to ensure more opportunities are available to more Marylanders,” he said.

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Other powerful, well known Democrats are expected to run, like Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, who has been raising campaign funds for some time now, Attorney General Doug Gansler, who has not officially announced but has told many he’s planning, and some speculate even U.S. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger may join the race.

The lieutenant governor has not yet indicated who his running-mate will be, but sources tell WJZ it could be Ken Ulman.

Brown has the support of Governor O’Malley, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake as well as the Democratic political machine.

With so much at stake, political experts predict lots of money will be spent as candidates get their names and messages out to the voters.

“Money is very important because it’s what buys an organization, what feeds and cares for an organization that gets out the vote and what buys advertising,” said Donald Norris, Public Policy, UMBC.

Brown, an Iraq veteran who was rewarded the Bronze Star, says he is hoping to build on the successes and boldly face the next challenges.

“I need your help, I need your support,” he told the crowd.

If Brown were to win the election for governor, he would be the first black governor in the state of Maryland.

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Brown is a Harvard graduate, a husband and a father.