Who is Anthony Brown?

The 52-year-old lieutenant governor is running for the top spot in his state this year, looking to become only the third African-American ever elected governor of a state and the first in Maryland’s history.

Brown is not a newcomer to politics. The Harvard Law graduate (he overlapped at the school with President Obama) and Iraq War veteran (he won a Bronze Star for his time there) served in the Maryland legislature before being elected to the No 2. slot in the state in 2006. He and Gov. Martin O’Malley won reelection in 2010.

Why is he on theGrio’s 100?

If he wins, Brown would join Massachusetts’ Deval Patrick as the only black governors in the country. And if elected, he would become the leader of a large Democratic state, giving him the ability to lead on a number of progressive issues.

He has pledged to implement a universal pre-kindergarten program if he elected.

But victory is not guaranteed. Brown is facing stiff opposition in the Democratic primary.

He has a valuable ally in ex-White House advisor and Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, who joined Brown’s team in July of 2013. “I met a lot of people traveling across America as President Obama’s campaign manager and I can tell you that Anthony Brown truly stands out as one of the best in this next generation of leaders,” Messina said in a statement.

What’s next for him?

Ahead of next June’s primary, Brown will campaign across the state. He leads in most polls and has more money than his opponents, but is facing criticism over his role in the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in Maryland, which has been beset by website problems.