November 5, 2014

Historic Republican gains in Maryland as Hogan wins; GOP picks up execs, House and Senate seats

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Hogan at Podium

Above: Larry Hogan Jr. makes a victory speech just after midnight early Wednesday.

CORRECTION 11/5/2014, 1 p.m.: The original gains for Republicans in the House were based on earlier, incomplete returns. At this time, there are now likely 7 additional GOP delegates for a total of 50.

By Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com

Maryland Republicans made historic gains in Tuesday’s election.

Larry Hogan Jr. became just the third Republican elected governor in the past 50 years, winning by almost the same 51.5% margin and carrying almost the same number of counties as Gov. Bob Ehrlich, the last Republican chief executive 12 years ago.

Sen. Allan Kittleman became just the second Republican Howard County executive in its history, and Del. Steve Schuh, as expected, kept the Anne Arundel County executive office in GOP hands. On the Lower Shore, Bob Culver defeated Democrat Richard Pollitt, the first Wicomico County executive.

Ex-Secret Service agent Dan Bongino came very close to unseating freshman Democratic Congressman John Delaney in the 6th Congressional District, redrawn to put it into Democratic hands. Delaney, a wealthy former banker, had to put up $800,000 of his own money in the closing weeks to hold onto his seat.

But it was in the Maryland General Assembly that the GOP matched Hogan’s unanticipated victory with unexpected gains — despite partisan gerrymandering by Democrats that sought to cut the GOP’s numbers.

Republicans picked up seven seats in the House of Delegates and two in the state Senate. The GOP will have 50 seats in the 141-seat House, when just months ago their leaders thought they would be lucky to hold onto the 43 seats they currently have, already a historic high number for Republicans in the Maryland House.

There will now be 24 Republican delegates returning and 26 new GOP delegates, according to House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga.

Sauerbrey feels vindicated

Hundreds of Republicans gathered for the Hogan victory party at the Annapolis Westin Hotel. Singing and dancing with a live band, hugging and high-fiving, few were as elated as Ellen Sauerbrey, the former House of Delegates minority leader who was almost elected governor in 1994, losing to Parris Glendening by 6,007 votes. Many in the GOP feel she actually won that election if it were not for Democratic vote tampering.

“Twenty years later, vindication,” she said early Wednesday morning. “I think the people have spoken.”

On Election Day, she worked a polling place in Baltimore County where she lives, and people would tell her: “I’ve always voted Democratic, but I’ve had it.”

Dundalk sweep

Clearly, they had had it in Dundalk.

In one of their most remarkable wins, Republicans swept the Senate seat and three House seats in District 6, the Dundalk-Essex area that had always elected Democrats. They also knocked off the longtime chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Norman Conway, on the Lower Shore, and an appropriations subcommittee chair, John Bohanan, in the increasingly Republican St. Mary’s County.

In St. Mary’s, Republican Steve Waugh also ended the 36-year political career of state Sen. Roy Dyson, an education and health committee vice chair who had served 10 years in Congress before he was elected to the state Senate.

The GOP also held onto the Harford-Cecil Senate seat held by Sen. Nancy Jacobs, with Bob Cassilly defeating Mary-Dulany James, another House Appropriations subcommittee chair.

For more detailed coverage of the legislative races, see a separate story.

How Hogan won

Sauerbrey said Hogan won with a strong disciplined message that focused on taxes, spending and jobs. Hogan kept to that message Tuesday night in his victory speech.

“They said it couldn’t be done, but together we did it,” Hogan told the boisterous crowd more used to election night wakes than victory celebrations. “I want to thank [New Jersey] Gov. Christie for bringing in the cavalry.”

Christie, chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, made four visits to the state and funnelled money for ads to boost the underfunded Hogan campaign, which had accepted public funding that limited fundraising.

“Tonight we have sent a loud and clear message to Annapolis,” Hogan said.

Hogan emphasized his willingness to work in a bipartisan way, as he did through his organization Change Maryland, which became the theme and basis of his campaign.

“This race was never about a fight between Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “The voters showed that they were completely fed up with politics as usual.”

“Thanks to you, real change has come to Maryland,” Hogan told the crowd. “Tomorrow, the people of Maryland finally get to take Maryland back.”

He said he will begin “cleaning up the mess in Annapolis and restoring integrity to state government.” He promised to get that government “off our backs and out of our pockets.”

Wednesday he is scheduled to hold a press conference to announce his transition team.

State police protection

After his speech, Hogan spent almost an hour greeting and talking to people left in the Westin ballroom. But one of the sure signs of his new status as governor-elect were the plainclothes state troopers of the executive protection detail who became visible as Hogan took the stage.

Afterward, at least six hovered near Hogan as he worked the crowd, two were with Lt. Gov.-elect Boyd Rutherford, and one scanned the room near Hogan’s wife, Yumi, a Korean American artist. One of the executive protection detail’s black Chevy Tahoe hybrid SUVs waited to transport Hogan outside the Westin, not far from the Hogan-Rutherford bus that he had been traveling in for months.

Many of the newly elected legislators and officeholders traveled to Annapolis to join Hogan in the early morning after their own victory celebrations, relishing the prospect working with a friend in the State House as they took on their new posts.

“It can’t get more exciting than this,” said Del. Susan Krebs, elected to her fourth term from Carroll County.

  • John Mann

    Brown didn’t have any charisma and he ran like a coward from the awful rollout of the state’s healthcare exchange. I guess this is also proof that you can’t rely too heavily on Montgomery, PG and Baltimore City. But Hogan now has to deal with Mike Miller, we’ll see how that plays.

    • DCRussell

      An organization in southern PG, with a mixed race, but solidly Democratic membership, tried for months to have Brown speak at a meeting. His staff kept setting dates, then canceling. When he finally did come, there was a much higher than normal turnout. But he didn’t have much of anything to say beyond the “official” script and did not address any of the local concerns, nor did he interact with any of the people present, mostly community activists and association officers and a few elected officials and central committee members. Nobody seemed turned on by his performance. As a former constituent who had interacted with Brown, and supported him, when he was a delegate. I left the meeting wondering what had happened to the Anthony Brown I once knew. That Anthony Brown might have won the election–too bad he changed.

  • Vidi

    Now that the elections are over and Hogan has won, I hope he reaches out to Democrats, includes a few in his administration and does what he can to reach out to Montgomery County, still a deep, deep blue with nary a tinge of red.

  • MD observer

    The candidate with the best qualifications and temperament won. Despite some astonishing numbers in Prince George’s County, particularly.

  • abby_adams

    So many MD Dems are still clueless. After eight years of tax & spend, MD’s middle class has had it. Brown was a tightly controlled highly scripted candidate that handlers assumed would ascend to the Gov’s mansion without a fight. No amount of Dem star power could assure a win, yet they tried. For the first time, in a long time, I have some hope that we can get off the “party line” politics & focus on what’s good for ALL Maryland residents, not just those in certain jurisdictions. Hopefully, Miller & Busch will be open to working with Hogan & not playing partisan politics. The stakes are too high for those of us stuck in the middle.

  • Gabrielle

    As I wrote you before the election; Brown was negative from beginning to end. He was not a good candidate in any way.
    Hogan’s responses to his opponents attacks were reasonable, measured, and never became nasty and negative. That’s how he won my vote!