COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Republican Larry Hogan on Tuesday scored a stunning upset in the Maryland gubernatorial race by defeating Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown.
With nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting, Hogan defeated Brown by a 52-47 percent margin.
Hogan easily defeated Brown in Alleghany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester Counties. The Republican who was a member of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich’s administration beat his Democratic rival in Howard County by a 52-47 percent margin.
Brown defeated Hogan in Prince George’s County by an 84-15 percent margin and in Baltimore City by a 75-22 percent margin. The lieutenant governor also beat his Republican rival in Montgomery and Charles Counties by a 62-37 percent margin and 52-47 percent margin respectively.
“What a historic night in Maryland,” Hogan told supporters in Annapolis as the Washington Post reported. “They said it couldn’t be done here in Maryland. But together, we did it.”
Brown officially conceded to Hogan shortly after midnight before addressing stunned supporters at the University of Maryland in College Park.
“Tonight we fell short of our campaign goal,” said Brown.
A CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll conducted between Oct. 16-23 found Brown ahead of Hogan by a 51-38 point margin, but other surveys indicated the gap between the candidates had narrowed.
A WPA Research poll conducted between Oct. 26-27 noted Brown was ahead of Hogan by a 44-39 percent margin. A separate survey from WPA Research found the lieutenant governor was ahead of his Republican rival by only two points.
Brown throughout the campaign highlighted his support of marriage rights for same-sex couples. He also backs Maryland’s transgender rights law that took effect on Oct. 1, noting to the Washington Blade during multiple interviews he testified in support of it in March during a state House of Delegates committee hearing.
Equality Maryland’s early endorsement of Brown raised eyebrows among some state LGBT rights activists who noted lesbian state Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery County) was among his main rivals in the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Attorney General Doug Gansler claimed the advocacy group “traded” its endorsement of the lieutenant governor for his support of the trans rights bill.
Both Equality Maryland and Brown dismissed that claim.
Hogan told the Baltimore Sun ahead of the June primary that he opposes the trans rights law. He said during an interview on News Talk with Bruce DePuyt in August that his position on marriage rights for same-sex couples had “evolved,” noting he would not seek to repeal the state’s gay nuptials law that voters approved in a 2012 referendum.
Hogan largely avoided social issues during the campaign, focusing on the economy and taxes.
“Hogan has some of the best message discipline I’ve ever seen in a candidate,” Walter Olson, a fellow at the Cato Institute, told the Blade on Tuesday. “He ruled social issues off the table, announced he was running an economic issues campaign and stuck to that despite every attempt by his opponent — and a few on his own side — to change the subject back. Brown never managed to hang the intolerant social issue millstone around Hogan’s neck, though he tried and tried.”
Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, did not immediately respond to the Blade’s request for comment on the election results.
Dana Beyer, executive director of Gender Rights Maryland who backed Mizeur in the primary, described Hogan’s victory as “pretty stunning.”
“There is no functional Republican party in many populous parts of the state: No Elizabeth Warren candidates, no progressive, populist passion so no inspiration,” Beyer told the Blade. “You’ve got to stand for something.”
Political observers noted throughout the campaign that Brown would have expanded upon outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley’s record if he had succeeded him in Annapolis.
Gay state Sen. Rich Madaleno (D-Montgomery County) told the Blade after Brown conceded to Hogan that he feels the lieutenant governor’s loss is not a repudiation of O’Malley.
“There’s a frustration if you look around the country in a variety of places there were incumbents who lost,” said Madaleno, noting incumbent Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett also lost on Tuesday. “You have all sorts of unusual things happening all over the country. People seem to be dissatisfied and they were taking it out on whoever they could. I wouldn’t blame this on Martin at all.”
Madaleno also said he hopes he and other out state lawmakers can find common ground with Hogan on combating homelessness among LGBT youth, fighting HIV/AIDS and health care.
“If we take him on his word that he wasn’t going to go backwards, then we’ll find common ground,” Madaleno told the Blade. “If he wants to try to attack our community we will fight back.”
Frosh elected attorney general, LGBT lawmakers re-elected
State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County) easily defeated Republican Jeffrey Pritzker to succeed Gansler as attorney general.
“As attorney general, I will fight for justice each and every day,” said Frosh in a statement. “I will use the full force of the law to keep people safe in their neighborhoods, protect consumers from financial scams and abuse, provide equal opportunity for all Marylanders and ensure that every person in our state has clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. I will work hard every day to be the people’s lawyer.”
Democratic Congressman John Delaney narrowly defeated Republican Dan Bongino in Maryland’s 6th Congressional District. Incumbent Congressmembers Andy Harris, C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger, John Sarbanes, Donna Edwards, Steny Hoyer, Elijah Cummings and Chris Van Hollen easily won re-election.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot won re-election after defeating Republican William Campbell.
Madaleno and out state Dels. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City), Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County), Mary Washington (D-Baltimore City), Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery County) and Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) all won their respective races.
David Moon and Will Smith will represent House District 20 in Annapolis after Mizeur and state Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery County) announced they would not seek re-election. Maricé Morales, an aide to state Sen. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery County), won her bid to replace outgoing state Del. Sam Arora (D-Montgomery County) who voted against marriage rights for same-sex couples in 2012.
Gay state Del. Peter Murphy (D-Charles County) defeated Tom Desabla to become Charles County Commissioner President.