BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan has won Maryland’s governor’s race. He is the first GOP governor to win a second term in Maryland since 1954, and only the second to do so in the state’s history.
“They said it was impossible. They said it couldn’t be done in Maryland, but thanks to all of you, we just went out and did it,” he said in his celebratory speech to a raucous crowd at his campaign headquarters in Annapolis. “Four years ago you helped us pull off the biggest political upset in America, and I became only the second Republican governor elected in Maryland in 50 years. And tonight in this deep blue state, in this blue year, where the blue wave, it turns out I can surf — and we had a purple surfboard!
In the end, it wasn’t even close. Hogan pulled off the feat by a margin of 286,000 votes in a state that heavily leans toward the left. He pointed to his desire for moderation and finding middle ground and civility, along with being a governor for all Marylanders.
“The second time in 242 years is a pretty big deal, but it has a lot to do with tone and that I really tried my best be bipartisan and work across the aisle,” he told WJZ’s Denise Koch. “It seems that’s what people really want. In this day and age with all the divisive politics and people fighting with one another, I think they liked the fact that we’re bringing people together.”
The governor believes he must continue to use that formula for success moving forward.
“More than two-thirds of the people in Maryland think we’re heading in the right direction, so we’re gonna see a lot more of the same and we’re gonna try to accomplish even more. We’re not gonna have any changes in course, people seem to be happy,” he said.
Hogan started Election Day early with a traditional gubernatorial trip to Annapolis deli Chick and Ruth’s where he gave voters some advice. “I just say don’t take anything for granted because the polls don’t really mean much. It’s about who shows up and actually votes and we’re telling them not to act like we’re 20 points up, act like we’re 20 points down,” Hogan said.
Hogan maintained a lead in those polls, despite the 2:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the state. His Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous, took to the stage at a historic Baltimore theater late Tuesday to concede defeat.
Jealous, a former leader of the NAACP who was trying to become Maryland’s first black governor, told supporters he called Hogan to wish him the best, saying he had “no doubt that he cares deeply about our state and the families who call it home.”
Hogan accounted for 56.2 percent of the vote, falling 1 percent short of the record for a Republican nominee for governor of Maryland, which is held by Theodore R. McKeldin when he was first elected in 1950.