By Hamil R. Harris, Special to the AFRO
Maryland voters gave Governor Larry Hogan a second term in office Tuesday night after challenger Ben Jealous failed to glean enough votes in a state where Democrats have a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans.
“I want to thank all of you who worked so hard to accomplish this seemingly impossible mission,” Hogan told a cheering crowd Tuesday night in Annapolis. “Thank you so much for believing in us. I am deeply humbled by the trust the people of Maryland have placed in me.”
Ben Jealous, who was defeated by incumbent Governor Larry Hogan in the gubernatorial race, takes a selfie with the next Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. (Courtesy Photo)
With 98 perecent of the precincts reporting, Hogan received 1,193,669 votes or 56.3 percent of the vote while Jealous received 905,541 votes for 42 percent of the vote on a night when voters in five polling places were still in line and trying to vote at 10 p.m. because election officials ran out of paper ballots and more had to be retrieved.
In his Baltimore concession speech, Jealous said “I want to thank each of you and our neighbors across the state for the support given to me in this uphill fight. It was said it was going from K2 to Everest.”
Indeed it was.
From the streets of Baltimore to the Maryland suburbs of the nation’s capital, from early in the campaign Jealous didn’t mount much of a ground game as African Americans and veteran Democrats separated Hogan from President Donald Trump and re-elected him- becoming the first Republican in more than 50 years to be re-elected.
The Maryland race came on a night when the Democrats regained control of House, the Republicans widened their margins in the US Senate and African Americans Andrew Gillum and Stacy Abrams lost their bids to become governor in Florida and Georgia respectively.
Hogan’s win was made possible because huge support he received from African American Democrat’s and regular people who collectively embraced a man who went from being a political novice, to fighting cancer to earning the respect of people across the state.
“Governor Hogan has earned my respect because of his consistency, character and because of his attention to the affairs of this state and his moral example means a lot to me,” said Pastor Charles Talbert, 73, who along with his wife, voted early Tuesday at Charles Carroll Middle School in New Carrollton.
During a national teleconference hosted by Melanie Campbell, executive director of the National Coalition of Black Civic Participation, activists from Alabama, Florida, Georgia and nearly a dozen other states chimed in to say that voter turnout was heavy and incidents were few, but when it came to Maryland, Rev. Tony Lee, pastor of the Community of Hope in Temple Hills said that after visiting Florida and Georgia, “the get out to vote in Maryland wasn’t as concentrated.”
Tuesday’s election was basically a coronation for other Democratic candidates, including U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Attorney General Brian Frosh and State Comptroller Peter Franchot who easily won re-election along with U.S. Representatives Anthony Brown, Elijah Cummings and Steny Hoyer. In addition Democrats Mel Franklin and Calvin Hawkins won At-large seats on the Prince George’s County Council along with lawmakers in nine various Districts.
In four contested Prince George’s County Board Of Education races, Joshua M. Thomas, Pamela Boozer-Strother, Belinda Queen and Sonya Williams won.