Ho­gan notches his­toric re-elec­tion as gov­er­nor

Times-Record - - FRONT PAGE - By BROOKS DUBOSE Cap­i­tal News Ser­vice

ANNAPOLIS — Tues­day night, Nov. 6, in Mary­land was his­toric: Gov. Larry Ho­gan, the pop­u­lar in­cum­bent, won a de­ci­sive vic­tor y against his Demo­cratic chal­lenger to be­come the state’s first two-term Repub­li­can gov­er­nor in more than half a cen­tury.

The As­so­ci­ated Press called the race at 9:07 p.m. with Ho­gan lead­ing Ben Jeal­ous, the for­mer NAACP pres­i­dent. By Wed­nes­day morn­ing, with nearly all of the state’s elec­tion day precincts re­port­ing, Ho­gan was in the lead with 56.2 per­cent of votes, com­pared to Jeal­ous, who had 42.7 per­cent of statewide votes.

The state board of elec­tions re­leased re­sults around 10 p.m. elec­tion night, two hours af­ter polls closed. Re­ports in­di­cated that vot­ers were in line late in Prince George’s County due to a lack of pa­per bal­lots in some polling sta­tions. Re­sults for the third-party can­di­dates, Ian Sch­lak­man of the Green Party and Lib­er­tar­ian Shawn Quinn of Lusby, were neg­li­gi­ble at less than 1 per­cent each statewide.

Ho­gan won 77 per­cent of the vote in St. Mary’s com­pared to Jeal­ous, who had about 22 per­cent. In Calvert, Ho­gan col­lected 76 per­cent of votes.

In Charles, Ho­gan and Jeal­ous each re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately 49.6 per­cent of the vote, with un­of­fi­cial re­sults show­ing Ho­gan in a slight lead in the county with just 20 more votes out of the more than 60,000 cast.

Not since the Eisen­hower ad­min­is­tra­tion have Mary­land vot­ers re-elected a Repub­li­can gov­er­nor — when Theodore McKeldin won a sec­ond term in 1954. Ho­gan did what Spiro Agnew never at­tempted and Robert Ehrlich failed to do. Agnew never made a re-elec­tion bid, in­stead he was elected vice pres­i­dent when Richard Nixon won the White House in 1968. Agnew even­tu­ally re­signed af­ter plead­ing no con­test to charges of tax eva­sion. In 2006, in­cum­bent gov­er­nor Ehrlich lost de­ci­sively to Martin O’Mal­ley de­spite a high ap­proval rat­ing.

Ho­gan stepped on stage at the Westin Ho­tel in Annapolis just af­ter 10 p.m. be­fore a bois­ter­ous crowd to de­clare vic­tory.

“They said it was im­pos­si­ble. They said it couldn’t be done in Mary­land but thanks to you we just went out and did it,” Ho­gan said. “Tonight in this deep blue state, in this blue year, with a blue wave, it turns out I can surf.”

The race never ap­peared close, with polls show­ing the gov­er­nor lead­ing Jeal­ous by dou­ble dig­its from the Demo­cratic pri­mary in June un­til Oc­to­ber when a Wash­ing­ton Post-Univer­sity of Mary­land poll had him win­ning by 20 points.

Jeal­ous and his run­ning mate, Susie Turn­bull, con­ceded just be­fore 11 p.m. Tues­day.

“We looked at the num­bers,” Jeal­ous said to his sup­port­ers gath­ered at the Hip­po­drome Theater in Bal­ti­more. “Call­ing right now is the right thing to do.”

In his vic­tory speech, Ho­gan thanked Jeal­ous for run­ning a “spir­ited” cam­paign and “giv­ing Mary­land a real choice.”

“While we dis­agree on the is­sues he has my re­spect and I sin­cerely wish him well in his fu­ture pur­suits,” he said.

Ho­gan’s ap­proval rat­ing topped 70 per­cent in Au­gust — in a state in which vot­ers from his party are

out­num­bered by Democrats by a more than 2-to-1 mar­gin.

The gov­er­nor’s vic­tory was helped by a cash-rich re-elec­tion cam­paign that spent mil­lions on ads tout­ing Ho­gan’s first-term achieve­ments, in­clud­ing sur­pass­ing fund­ing quo­tas for the state’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, fight­ing the opi­oid epi­demic, en­act­ing busi­ness-friendly poli­cies, putting the brakes on tax in­creases handed down by Demo­crat Martin O’Mal­ley’s ad­min­is­tra­tion and low­er­ing tolls and fees.

Solomon Wilt­shire, a 30-year-old Lib­er­tar­ian from Bal­ti­more said, “I voted for Ho­gan be­cause my busi­ness [print­ing] has done well since he has been gov­er­nor. Ben Jeal­ous stands for what I be­lieve in. But, I gotta pay the bills.”

As for Jeal­ous, he be­gan the gen­eral race at a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial dis­ad­van­tage. The for­mer head of the NAACP spent nearly all of his cam­paign funds to win a crowded Demo­cratic pri­mary. In the early stages of the gen­eral elec­tion, polls showed Ho­gan with a dou­ble-digit ad­van­tage and cam­paign do­na­tions soon dried up, leav­ing Jeal­ous un­able to ef­fec­tively in­tro­duce him­self to vot­ers.

Jeal­ous even­tu­ally re­leased ads tout­ing his ac­com­plish­ments both as pres­i­dent of the NAACP and as a busi­ness­man, as well as his plans to fund ed­u­ca­tion and other parts of his agenda.

Ho­gan was fur­ther aided by sev­eral gaffes by Jeal­ous, in­clud­ing in­ex­pli­ca­bly ve­to­ing a re­porter from be­ing a pan­elist for the race’s lone de­bate. Af­ter re­ceiv­ing crit­i­cism, his cam­paign with­drew the veto.

Voter en­thu­si­asm has ap­peared un­com­monly high for a midterm elec­tion. More than 660,000 Mary­lan­ders voted early — dou­ble the to­tal that turned out in the last Mary­land gu­ber­na­to­rial elec­tion in 2014.

Some vot­ers said they par­tic­i­pated in re­sponse to Repub­li­can Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump whose poli­cies — namely im­mi­gra­tion — have been seen as di­vi­sive and po­lar­iz­ing.

Brid­get Hilder said she doesn’t nor­mally vote in midterms but her daugh­ter vot­ing for the first time en­cour­aged her to do the same.

Hilder voted in Pasadena for Ho­gan, and said she likes how he doesn’t get in­volved in con­tro­ver­sies. “He’s brought Mary­land back to where it’s not in the bad news any­more,” she said.

Ho­gan has man­aged to shed most if not all as­so­ci­a­tion with Trump, de­spite Democrats’ ef­forts to link the two. The gov­er­nor has made a point to con­trast his brand of pol­i­tics to those in Wash­ing­ton.

“Tonight the vot­ers of Mary­land put aside di­vi­sive par­ti­san pol­i­tics and the peo­ple in our great state voted for ci­vil­ity, for bi­par­ti­san­ship and for com­mon-sense lead­er­ship,” Ho­gan said. “What unites us as Mary­lan­ders and as Amer­i­cans is al­ways greater that which di­vides us.”

“Tonight,” he con­tin­ued, “Mary­land sent a loud and clear mes­sage to Wash­ing­ton that they will hear all across Amer­ica.”

Link­ing Ho­gan to Trump has not worked as well as some Democrats would have hoped, said Mileah Kromer, as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal science and di­rec­tor of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Pol­i­tics Cen­ter at Goucher Col­lege, not only be­cause of his pol­icy de­ci­sions, but also his tem­per­a­ment.

Much like in his first term, Ho­gan will have to work with a heav­ily Demo­cratic Mary­land Gen­eral Assem­bly, which main­tained its ve­to­proof ma­jor­ity.

Ho­gan has been ap­plauded for his bi­par­ti­san­ship in his first term, so that vot­ers like James Mi­nor, a Hy­attsville res­i­dent who said he’s worked for the De­part­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity for 15 years, said Tues­day af­ter­noon he voted for Ho­gan de­spite iden­ti­fy­ing as a Demo­crat.

“He doesn’t seem like he has a big ‘R’ on his fore­head to me,” Mi­nor said, adding that he ap­pre­ci­ated Ho­gan’s goals of giv­ing more money to school sys­tems in Mary­land, and said Ho­gan seemed to have the state’s best in­ter­ests at heart.


Gov. Larry Ho­gan, right, and Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, the first Repub­li­cans to be re-elected since 1954, held a cel­e­bra­tory press con­fer­ence in the Gov­er­nor’s Re­cep­tion Room of the Mary­land State House on Wed­nes­day in Annapolis.

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