Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz announced on Wednesday that she will seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2022, when Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) is term-limited. Screenshot from announcement video.

Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz announced Wednesday that she’s running for governor in 2022.

Schulz, 52, is the first declared Republican candidate in the race. Earlier on Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R) announced he would not be running in the gubernatorial election.

“This past year has been incredibly difficult for all of us. But the perseverance I have seen from Marylanders has been nothing less than awe-inspiring. It’s this resilience, strength, and never-give-up mentality that inspired me to run for governor,” Schulz said in an announcement video released around noon.

In the video, she promised to help struggling families and small businesses, and to restore and strengthen the state’s economy.

Schulz was a state delegate representing rural portions of Frederick County from 2011 until 2015, when she vacated her seat to join the Hogan administration.

She served first as Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s Labor secretary, and shifted to Commerce secretary in 2018.

Joining Schulz’ nascent campaign as treasurer is Sam Malhotra, a former chief of staff to Hogan and his former Secretary of Human Resources.

Maryland’s online campaign finance reporting system did not show an active campaign account for Schulz around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday. In 2018, Schulz closed out her former delegate account, donating much of what was left, $400, to the Hogan Victory Fund.

Before joining the Hogan administration, Schulz sold real estate, worked as a program manager for a defense contractor and was a part-owner of a cyber security firm, according to her state bio.

A native of Michigan, she lives in Frederick County with her husband John Nowell.

By Danielle Gaines

This story will be updated.