BALTIMORE – In a historic election within a Democratic stronghold, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan retained his set Tuesday to become the first Republican governor re-elected in the state in 64 years.
According to unofficial results with 1,947 of out 1,991 percent of precincts reporting, Hogan received about 1.2 million votes compared to 893,606 for Democratic challenger and former NAACP president Ben Jealous.
“This is absolutely amazing,” Hogan said to a joyous crowd at The Westin Hotel in Annapolis. “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.”
In various television ads, Hogan pushed an everyman persona and outlined how working with fellow Democrats will continue to improve Maryland politically and socially.
A few ads poked fun at Jealous such as one titled “What’s Ben Jealous Running for?” It used clips to show Jealous misspeaking at various campaign events and in a radio interview with President Barack Obama and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam with confused looks.
The Jealous campaign immediately chided Hogan for picking on Jealous’s stutter.
Campaign finance reports show Hogan received support from contributors such as a combined $15,875 from Ted Lerner, owner of the Washington Nationals, and his wife, Annette and their son, Mark.
Another $6,000 came from Thomas Bozzuto, chairman and founder of the Bozzuto Group real estate firm headquartered in Greenbelt. Jessica Bronfein, whose husband, Michael Bronfein, oversees a medical cannabis company, chose to donate to Hogan although the couple have supported prominent state Democrats in the past.
As for Jealous, he received support from high-profile politicians, celebrities, unions and progressive groups to push an agenda for higher teacher salaries, reform the criminal justice system and boost small businesses.
Although Hogan showed double-digit leads in various polls, Jealous and his supporters constantly reminded voters with the theme, “Polls don’t vote, people do.”
Voters went to the ballot box and chose Hogan.
“Looking at the diversity in this room [and] spirit among all the organizers throughout this room from wall-to-wall, it looks like a Jealous family reunion,” Jealous said from the Hippodrome Theater in downtown Baltimore as he sought to become the state’s first Black governor. “I campaigned in this race as a movement leader and I’ll go out of this race as a movement leader.”
Political science professor Todd Eberly said in an interview last month Jealous would need Democratic jurisdictions such as Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and Baltimore City for a chance to win.
According to unofficial results, Jealous received nearly 199,000 votes in Prince George’s County, compared to 80,287 for Hogan.
The vote showed a closer result in Montgomery County with 192,435 for Jealous and 157,822 for Hogan.
Although Jealous more than doubled Hogan in Baltimore City, Hogan won the three main counties in the Baltimore region: Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard.
The state showed more than 661,000 people casted ballots during early voting, a 116 percent increase from four years ago when about 307,650 people voted early, according to unofficial results from the state Board of Elections.
Historically, Eberly has said Democrats turn out for early voting.
In this year’s election, Hogan received 38,570 more voters than Jealous.
This year, voters Prince George’s recorded the second-highest total behind Montgomery County at 102,604 voters, or 18 percent of those registered.
Although Democrats outnumber Republicans 10 to 1 in Prince George’s, Betty Wyatt chose Hogan.
“I’m willing to give him another [four-year] term,” said Wyatt while standing beside her husband, Freddie Wyatt, after they voted at Capitol Heights Elementary on Tuesday.
David Harris, a community activist in Baltimore who voted for Jealous, said Hogan needs to pay more attention to his city.
“It just can’t be about the surrounding counties. It needs to be about the city, too,” Harris said at the Hippodrome Theater. “The heart of Maryland is in the city. We can build our city up, we can stop crime and we can be able to build our community up in a way that everybody benefits.”
Voters approved both statewide referendums on the ballot.
About 1.7 million, or 89 percent, voted in favor of “Question 1” to require the state ‘s six casinos to supplement public education. According to the questions approved on the ballot, the amounts would spread this way:
•$125 million would be allocated in fiscal year 2020;
•$250 million in fiscal year 2012;
•$375 million in fiscal year 2022; and
•100 percent of commercial gaming revenues in fiscal year 2023 and beyond.
About 1.3 million, or 67 percent, of voters approved the second statewide question to authorize the General Assembly to enact legislation “for qualified voters” to register and vote on the same day at a polling precinct.