Anthony Brown was supposed to waltz into the Governor’s Mansion. He spent eight years in Martin O’Malley’s shadow and it was his time. In a state where Democrats hold a greater than a 2:1 lead over Republicans it was just a formality. In Maryland the Democrat Primary is considered the general election because whatever Democrat wins the primary wins the general.
But a funny thing happened on the way to Annapolis. Lt. Governor Anthony Brown hit a shockwave in the form of businessman Larry Hogan. Hogan campaigned on economic issues and reducing taxes. Hogan vowed to get rid of as many of the forty plus tax increases put in place by O’Malley/Brown.
Brown, for his part, failed to campaign on what he would do and instead chose to attack his opponent. Brown accused Hogan of everything short of the Crucifixion of Jesus and claimed he would be bad for the state.
Some of Brown’s ads were outright lies and used fear to persuade people that Hogan would have “assault” rifles lying around all over the place. Brown also misled people on his military service by showing himself piloting helicopters while a narrator talks about Brown answering the call of duty.
Brown did indeed fly helicopters and he did indeed deploy to the Middle East. But he was a pilot on active duty and deployed while a reservist. As a reservist he was a JAG officer (Army Lawyer). There is no evidence he piloted helicopters while deployed as a lawyer.
Who does he think he is, Harm Rabb?
In any event, the O’Malley/Brown tenure destroyed the state, increased unemployment, raised taxes (including a tax on rain water runoff), and busted the budget while driving good businesses out of the state. Brown was solely responsible for the failure of the health care exchange and the millions of wasted dollars the project cost taxpayers.
People were fed up and they took it out at the polls by delivering a crushing defeat for Brown who lost by about 5* points. The defeat was a referendum on the tenure of O’Malley whose aspirations of being president took a huge hit (as if he actually had a chance). All in all it was a two-fer with Brown losing his bid to be governor and O’Malley losing nearly any chance of becoming president.
Brown is out and it looks like he might have to sign up for government health care and get a real job.
Hogan on the other hand, will have a tough time dealing with the huge Democrat majority in the legislature. He has stated he is willing to work with Democrats to get the state on track.
The big question is, are Democrats ready to work with Hogan to achieve those results?
Time will tell but if history is any indication Hogan will have to overcome a lot of resistance.
I think he is up to the challenge. Hell, no one gave him any chance of winning the race and he blew Brown out of the water. If he pulled that off I think he can accomplish quite a bit.
Democrats in the legislature beware. Some of your fellow Democrats suffered defeat on Tuesday and that should be a wakeup call that you are not doing your jobs.
Listen to the businessman and get this state back on track.
As an aside, when the tallies were coming in and it looked like Hogan might just pull it off I watched the local station to get current information. It was being reported that Brown would be making an announcement. Speculation was that he would concede because he could not overcome the vote deficit. I took great pleasure in watching the stage as the who’s who of Maryland Democrats stood there with sour looks on their faces waiting for Brown to arrive.
When he did it was short and sweet and that was all she wrote.
I loved that moment.
*This post was updated to put in the final margin of victory which changed from 9 to 5.
Never surrender, never submit.