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Politics
00000176-770f-dc2f-ad76-7f0fae420000In 2014, Maryland voters have several big choices to make. Election results will determine a lot of what happens in the state for the next four years. There are statewide races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller. Several county executive seats are in play. Every seat in the state legislature will be on the ballot, as will Maryland’s eight congressional seats. Maryland's two U.S. Senators, however, get a break; neither is up for re-election.WYPR will be covering many of these races. We will be updating this page with information and stories. The primary election is June 24. The general election is November 4.You must register by June 3 2014, to vote in the primary. You must register by October 14 to vote in the general election. According to the Maryland Board of Elections, you can register in person in a number of places, including state and local board of elections offices, the MVA, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and all public institutions of higher education.To register to vote online, go here.Find your polling place here.Early voting for the primary begins June 12. Every locality in Maryland has at least one early voting center. Find an early voting center here.The Governor’s RaceThe Washington Post’s John Wagner has a good breakdown of candidates who are running for governor, thinking about it, or considered it and decided to pass.

How Hogan Staged This Upset

Christopher Connelly
/
WYPR

Within days after last June’s primary, pollsters had written off Republican Larry Hogan in his race against Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. But somehow, Hogan pulled off a stunning upset, capturing more than 51 percent of the vote for governor in one of the bluest states in the nation.

He did it by running a good campaign and out hustling Brown, who "acted as if this was a coronation," said Melissa Deckman, chair of the political science department at Washington College in Chestertown. Marylanders are dissatisfied with the status quo and "very cranky," which gave Hogan an opportunity, she said.  "Republicans were genuinely excited for Hogan.  Whereas Brown was kind of a 'meh' candidate - he was just sort of middling and not very exciting," she said.  He never gave voters a good reason to vote for him.

So, the Republican candidate saw an opportunity, she said. He rolled the dice and used Maryland's public campaign finance funds.  It capped how much his campaign could raise, but also gave him an infusion of money immediately after the primary. "It was smart and shrewd for him to do that," Deckman said.  It wasn't as if the Maryland Republican party was well organized, nor did it have deep pockets, she said. Hogan wasn’t going to get much money there.

So, the Hogan team chugged on through the summer, still trailing Brown, but closing the gap, according to Hogan's internal polls.

Todd Eberly, chair of the political science department at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said Hogan was gaining traction as fall approached. “The debates helped a lot. Hogan held his own,” he said. "And people started to think he had a chance here."

Then Hogan's momentum drew attention from national Republican heavyweights, Eberly said. New Jersey Governor, Republican Chris Christie hopped on Hogan's campaign trail.  And the Republican Governors Association raised money for Hogan as well.

Come Election Day, Brown took Baltimore City and the Washington D.C. suburbs, as expected.  But Hogan handily won the Republican counties and won big time in swing counties.  He took Howard County - even though County Executive Ken Ulman was on Brown’s ticket.  And he took Baltimore County with almost sixty percent of the vote.

MileahKromer from Goucher College said throughout the campaign, Hogan repeatedly told the voters they pay too much in taxes..  And that is what moderate Democrats and independents wanted to talk about.

At the same time, there was a mismatch between what the voters were saying and what the Brown campaign was delivering.  "It was clear from the Goucher poll, The [Baltimore] Sun poll, and The Washington Post poll that the number one issue for Marylanders was the economy, the economy, the economy," Kromer said. "And the Brown campaign continued to make the election about guns and reproductive rights." In the end, Hogan got independents to lean right and flipped moderate Democrats, Kromer said.

Even though his internal polls showed him with a lead late in the campaign, Hogan seemed surprised at a press conference the morning after his victory.  He said, "[his campaign team] set vote goals that were nearly impossible to attain in every county in the state and we blew past all of them."

So what does this say about the future of the state? Is Maryland turning red?

Kromer, who runs the Goucher poll as well as teaches political science, said one election doesn’t turn a state away from a political party.  But, she said, it may make it easier for future Republican candidates. "Voting is habitual.   And once you vote for a Republican one time, it becomes easier to do it again."  She said that trend can perpetuate itself unless the Democrats make a stronger showing in the next election.