Craig was the keynote speaker at the Washington County Republican Central Committee’s annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner.
Nearing his term limit as Harford County executive, Craig is campaigning for a 2014 office, but hasn’t specified which one.
However, two Republicans who spoke before and after Craig on Wednesday — state committee Chairman Alex X. Mooney and county committee Chairman Ray Givens — said what is widely suspected, that Craig has his eye on the governor’s mansion.
Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, is also nearing the end of his term limits.
Democrats mentioned as possible gubernatorial candidates in 2014 include Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.
Mooney blasted O’Malley on Wednesday as someone whose every move is “calculated to run for president in four years.”
Craig piled on, tarring O’Malley as a tax-happy politician with no understanding of the financial struggles of everyday citizens.
O’Malley is “trying to destroy your economy and ruin your industry,” Craig told about 90 people — including a few Democrats — at Fountain Head Country Club near Hagerstown.
Craig offered his county as a contrast, government done the right way: cutting taxes and budgets, improving schools, restoring highways.
He said Harford County, during his time in office, has created “5,000 real jobs — they’re not government jobs,” drawing applause from the audience.
Craig praised Washington County for having the lowest per-capita government expenditures in the state, at $3,300. The statewide average is $4,600, he said.
Earlier in the evening, Mooney presented Del. Neil C. Parrott with an award for being named Man of the Year at a Maryland Republican State Central Committee convention last weekend.
Kari Snyder, a former legislative aide for Parrott, received the D. Eldred Rinehart Award as the local Republican of the year.
Both were praised for their work on last year’s successful petition drive to force a referendum on a law granting in-state college tuition to illegal immigrants.