Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele says he will not run for Maryland governor in 2022

The former Lt. Gov. of the state has been an ardently anti-Trump voice during a time at which the GOP base remains committed to the former POTUS

Updated: January 4, 2022 - 10:38am

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Michael Steele, a former Republican National Committee chairman and Maryland lieutenant governor, says he will not enters the state's 2020 gubernatorial race, for the seat of outgoing GOP Gov. Larry Hogan.

"I made the decision to stand down this round," Steele, who has taken a strong stance against the politics and behaviors of former President Trump, said Monday.

In a recent interview, Steele indicated that it was the disapproval of his family that kept him from joining the race.

"It's not something the family wants me to do right now," he said. "My wife has never been a big fan of the political landscape. At the end of the day, you can't be governor without the first lady."

Steele's decision positions Kelly Schulz, the state's commerce Secretary, and Maryland state Delegate Dan Cox, as the most prominent Republicans in the field. Schulz is a longtime member of Hogan's Cabinet, and Cox is a conservative candidate who has received a Trump endorsement.

Steele, a moderate Republican in a state in which registered Democratic voters outnumber Republicans 2-1, says the GOP has veered off course when it comes to its guiding principles.

"I’m concerned about the drift that’s taking away from democratic principles. I’m concerned people believe in the big lie, because why would you ever want to believe a lie? There was no corruption in this last election. There was no fraud," he told the Baltimore Sun.

The 63-year-old Steele says he will remain active in the national political conversation and continue working as an MSNBC contributor and at his strategic communications firm.

Democrats vying for the state's top spot include former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain, former Secretary of Education John B. King, and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez.