Category Archives: 2018 Governor’s Race

Autopsy Part III: Was Jealous Just Too Left Wing?

Jealous was among the most left-wing candidates running for governor this year. While Jealous took offense at being asked if he is a socialist, it’s hardly an out-of-the-box question for someone who was a co-chair of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Sanders has been a proud socialist for decades. Moreover, Jealous ran as the most left-wing candidate in primary, consistently outbidding his opponents as the most uncompromising progressive.

The Jealous campaign promised that his hardline positions would motivate minority and progressive Democrats to vote and to elect him over Larry Hogan. Obviously, it didn’t work out that way. But did Jealous’s left-wing positions matter?

Why Did Jealous Perform Markedly Worse Than Abrams and Gillum?

 Jealous performed far worse than strong progressives like Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Andrew Gillum in Florida who faced much more hostile political environments. Why?

For starters, Adams and Gillum ran not just as progressives but as pragmatists who wanted to make a real difference instead of hardline ideologues. While Jealous promised single-payer healthcare and attacked the Affordable Care Act for its high premiums in comments eerily similar to those of Republicans, Abrams and Gillum wanted to take advantage of the ACA’s Medicare expansion to cover more people in their states.

Abrams and Gillum’s experience and accomplishments in government gave them fluency on the issues and heft to their plans to make government work better for ordinary people. Jealous’s pie-in-the-sky plan to pay for single-payer health care by legalizing marijuana and reducing the prison population lacked similar credibility.

Candidate Choices Matter

Centrist Democrats had the luxury of a real choice. While they would have voted for Jealous against a right-wing kook, they voted in large numbers for Hogan against a left-wing Democrat. Georgia and Florida Democrats didn’t face the same choice and voted for less dogmatic Abrams and Gillum, who also ran better campaigns, in huge numbers against Trump Republicans.

It turns out that perhaps centrists need even more attention than progressives, as centrists are more likely to have somewhere else to go. While the ultra-progressive strategy works great in primaries, it leaves Democrats extremely vulnerable when the Republicans present less kooky options like Hogan.

Overreliance on Republican Racism

Hogan has shown once again that minority voters are perfectly willing to consider Republicans when presented with non-racist non-wingnut choices. Ironically, the former NAACP leader appeared to assume that he would automatically gain massive African-American support and that other people of color would also line up behind his banner.

Neither happened. Hogan’s acceptability on key racial issues freed up African Americans, who hold diverse beliefs on many issues just like everyone else, to look at other questions. Jealous was not well known in the African-American community and a good chunk of black voters found Hogan’s attempts to keep taxes stable and reduce burdensome fees more appealing than Jealous’s promise of radical expansion of Maryland government.

Jealous’s Strategy Ran Counter to Voter Trends and Maryland Demographics

Jealous’s hardline left-wing campaign was ill-equipped to take advantage of the major winds benefitting Democrats among well-educated white women. While not the only group to shift Democratic this year, they moved blue most sharply and they make up a disproportionate share of voters in well-educated Maryland compared to other states.

Usually middle or upper-middle class, many of these voters are moderate or even former Republicans put off by Trump’s constant violation of norms and extremism on social and environmental questions. Though repelled by Trumpian radicalism, they are unsurprisingly also chary of more radical and less pragmatic Democratic plans. Hogan’s preemption on many issues, such as health care and community college, made Jealous’s plans an even tougher sell.

This didn’t cost Jealous the election but did help pad Hogan’s margin.

Progressives v. The Establishment

 This explanation is a bunch of hooey but serves as a convenient excuse for disappointed Jealous supporters looking to blame anyone except the candidate. Large numbers of current Democratic officials hold the same positions as Jealous or are certainly willing to consider them. As I’ve detailed previously, the party was fully behind Jealous. Remember also that the full weight of the establishment didn’t manage to elect Anthony Brown four years ago.

To the extent that some elected officials didn’t hug Jealous tightly, it was for far more practical reasons. Most thought was a lousy candidate and seemed certain to lose. Why on earth would Democratic candidates for the legislature tie themselves to a sinking ship, especially if they aspire to represent areas where Hogan was about to win big?

Notwithstanding Jealous’s claims to be at the center of progressive accomplishments in Maryland, legislators didn’t know him and Jealous evinced little desire to know them, as his skipping the MACO meeting in Ocean City made plain. Jealous also didn’t endear himself to members of the General Assembly by bashing their progressive credentials in the primary and then taking credit for progressive legislation in the general.

At the end of the day, however, these problems had little to do with Jealous’s loss. Indeed, Jealous’s loss had far more to do with candidate choices, his lack of money, and the failure to get out any message that could rally Democrats in the general election.

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Autopsy Part II: Why Did Jealous Lose?

Continuing my analysis of why Jealous did so poorly in the gubernatorial election, today’s post examines factors that contributed to Ben Jealous’s defeat.

Larry Hogan

This is really the key factor. Gov. Larry Hogan was a good candidate. Throughout his tenure, he’s had an eye for the small politically popular act. He didn’t make any major changes, which also meant that few were offended. His cancer made him all the more sympathetic. Democrats thought that reaction to Trump would bring him down but Hogan proved a nice contrast. On top of that, the Governor raised a ton of money for his reelection campaign.

Connection to Maryland

Notwithstanding the lie on his campaign website that he “lived in Maryland throughout his career,” Ben Jealous’s ties as an adult to Maryland are quite weak. He only began voting here in 2012 and the 2018 gubernatorial primary was his first. Even when Jealous headed the NAACP he lived in Washington, D.C. Especially outside of the D.C. suburbs, Jealous came across as a member of the Washington establishment rather than a Marylander. Marylander has a history of rejecting candidates viewed as having parachuted into the state.

Ironically, the repeated reference to Jealous as the “nationally known” leader of the NAACP only reinforced this impression. Moreover, Jealous is well-known in elite Washington circles but not so much among ordinary African-American Marylanders who ended up voting for Hogan at far higher rates than usual for Republican candidates. During the primary, Jealous didn’t tout a single endorsement from any local or state officials of any race. His campaign repeatedly brought in national politicians.

Knowledge and Previous Impact in Maryland

Jealous’s knowledge about Maryland was painfully thin at times. He made ending mass incarceration a central plank of his campaign. Except the General Assembly working with Gov. Hogan had already taken action on this issue. As David Moon mentioned in a recent blog post, Maryland now has the fastest rate of decline in its prison population.

Similarly, Jealous tried to bring the federal fight over judicial nominees to Maryland and make voters fear Hogan’s appointees. Hogan’s judicial appointments have been neither radical nor politicized, as evidenced by the lack of Democratic opposition. It didn’t help that Jealous mistakenly referred to the Court of Appeals as the “Supreme Court.”

Jealous massively over claimed about his political impact in Maryland. He touted frequently his leadership in fights to eliminate the death penalty and pass marriage equality. I spoke with Sen. Bobby Zirkin, one of the pivotal senators on the death penalty question, and he still has never met Jealous. Similarly, none of the General Assembly leaders on marriage equality met or strategized with him during the lengthy battle on this issue.

The campaign repeatedly relied almost exclusively on an increasingly shopworn citation from the Baltimore Sun as “Marylander of the Year” to buttress his claims. But neither Jealous nor his campaign backed up these claims convincingly or had Marylanders ready to attest to them.

Finally, even his record as leader of the Baltimore-based NAACP was mixed. Jealous liked to talk about all the money he brought in to the NAACP and his role in building up the organization. But he left it facing a financial crisis. Revenue was down by roughly one quarter in his last year and the organization is now about the same size as when arrived but poorer, as the NAACP’s assets declined substantially during his tenure.

Poor Fundraising

 The love of money may be the root of all evil but campaigns need it to get their message out. In Montgomery County, the campaign almost did not exist until the very end when we were treated belatedly to a bushel of low-quality television ads. I never saw any online ads for Jealous. Nor did I receive any mail from the campaign.

I don’t know why Jealous didn’t have the money. During the primary, Jealous used his vaunted ability as a fundraiser to convince many endorsers to support his campaign. He delivered in the primary, but the general was a bust notwithstanding his claims that he could raise in excess of $10 million.

Despite being labelled inspirational and transformative by supporters, the Jealous campaign’s fundraising contrasted dramatically with even average Democratic candidates around the country who outraised their Republican opponents. Did he just not engage enough in the necessary evil of call time?

Part III continues this analysis of this year’s Democratic gubernatorial defeat.

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Precinct Results Map for Governor’s Race

The Baltimore Sun has released a cool interactive map showing Maryland’s results by precinct from the gubernatorial election. One major caution is that it only includes votes from election day, as we cannot currently allocate early and absentee votes back to precincts. Darker indicates higher density as well as a higher vote share, so it’s a bit tricky.

While you need to go to the site to check votes for individual precincts, the screenshot above still shows some revealing patterns. Specifically, it appears that Gov. Larry Hogan carried large swaths of the county normally won easily by Democrats.

Republicans usually do well in Laytonsville, Damascus, Clarksburg and Poolesville. On the western side of the county, Hogan also won in Potomac, Chevy Chase and much of Bethesda. The B-CC area is normally a Democratic bastion, so this is quite a shift.

On the east side of the county, Republican support extended much further south than usual, including Olney, Colesville, Sandy Spring and portions of Burtonsville. Hogan also did well in much of Rockville.

Of course, Hogan’s vote share was also up in the portions of the map colored blue. For example, Jealous carried the precinct including the Town of Kensington by just seven votes. In Silver Spring, Hogan won around one-third of the vote in the precincts I checked. In diehard Democratic Takoma Park, a quick scan of precincts suggests that Hogan scored in the 18-33% zone.

In terms of state legislative districts, Hogan clearly won areas of the county encompassing Districts 14 and 15, as they appear uniformly red. It looks like he may have also carried District 16, as much of it is red and the blue areas were not usually won by Jealous by large margins. I’d also be curious to see the results for District 19.

 

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Hogan by the Numbers

The following chart shows the share of the vote received by Gov. Larry Hogan in each county as well as the swing from 2014:

Hogan won majorities in all but four jurisdictions and carried all but the big Democratic three of Montgomery, Baltimore City and Prince George’s. (He won a plurality in Charles.)

In heavily Democratic Montgomery, Hogan won an impressive 44.5%-an unheard of percentage for Republicans in this Democratic heartland. An impressive number of people must have cast ballots both for Larry Hogan and for Marc Elrich.

While Prince George’s was Hogan’s worst county, he made his strongest gains there in picking up an additional 13.4% of the vote, suggesting that the Governor made strong gains in the African-American community. Ben Jealous also lost nearly one-third of the vote in Baltimore City.

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Maryland Morning After Roundup

It was a strange night in Maryland. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan didn’t just win reelection. He crushed it, defeating Democrat Ben Jealous by 56.2% to 42.7%. This handsome 13.5% margin is stunning for a Republican in a state that went for Hillary Clinton by 26%.

But Hogan’s rout was a personal, not a partisan, victory. The Governor had no coattails. Heck, he had anti-coattails as Democrats did very well below the top. Democratic AG Frosh and Comptroller Franchot won reelection by enormous margins.

Results Tracker at https://tinyurl.com/ybtwqv4m has the latest for all the key races in the Senate, House of Delegates, and County Exec races. Check it out.

Senate

In the state Senate, Hogan’s “drive for five” seats needed to sustain his veto melted into “we’ll settle for one.”

Democrats narrowly lost two seats. Baltimore County District 42 was expected to fall to Republican Del. Chris West and did, though by a surprisingly small margin. Democratic Sen. Jim Mathias was always defying gravity on the Eastern Shore and finally fell to Republican Del. Mary Beth Carozza.

But Democratic Sen. Kathy Klausmeier held on to beat back a challenge from Republican Del. Christian Miele in Baltimore County District 8. Democrat Sarah Elfreth held open Anne Arundel District 30 by a solid margin. In Frederick, Democratic Sen. Ron Young was thought to be in deep trouble but won reelection by his largest margin by far.

Democrats scored an upset in Howard/Carroll District 9 where Republican Sen. Gail Bates appears to have narrowly lost to Democrat Katie Fry Hester, as Howard’s highly educated electorate turned hard against the Republicans.

We’ll have to wait on absentees and provisionals but the absentees are unlikely to save Bates. While Democrats compose 39% of active registered voters, they comprise 51% of received absentees.

The new Senate will have 32 Democrats and 15 Republicans.

House of Delegates

Last night was about making gains rather than staunching losses for Democrats. Not a single vulnerable Democrat lost. Instead, Democrats are poised to add five seven more seats to their already hefty majority.

In Howard District 9B, incumbent Republican Robert Flanagan lost by 14 points to Democrat Courtney Watson, who returns to office after losing the 2014 county executive race. In Anne Arundel District 30A (Annapolis), Del. Herb McMillan’s retirement allowed Democrat Alice Cain to take the second seat and join seatmate Speaker Michael Busch in the House.

Baltimore County District 8 will now send two instead of one Democrat to the House. Democrat Eric Bromwell won reelection and will be joined by Harry Bhandari. Republican Del. Joe Cluster lost his seat as Del. Joseph Boteler is the sole Republican.

St. Mary’s County District 29B delivered a real surprise as incumbent Republican Del. Deb Rey lost to Democrat Brian Crosby, an army ranger who ran as a moderate or conservative Democrat.

In Harford District 34A (Havre de Grace), it looks like incumbent Democratic Del. Mary Ann Lisanti will be joined by Steve Johnson, who currently leads incumbent Republican Del. Glen Glass by a whopping 25 votes.

This one will go to absentees and provisionals. Among the received 583 absentee ballots, 271 (46%) were sent back by Democrats, 196 (34%) by Republicans and 116 (20%) by unaffiliated or minor party registrants. Among active registered voters, 49% are Democrats compared to 28% who are Republicans.

Unlike in Senate District 9, the party affiliation of received ballots doesn’t send enough of a signal to suggest a clear winner, so we really will have to wait for the final count on this one.

Two more surprise pickups: In Baltimore County District 42A, Democrat Michelle Guyton looks set to take the second of two delegate seats. She leads Tim Robinson by 306 votes. Meanwhile, in single-member Frederick County District 3B, Democrat Ken Kerr leads incumbent Republican Del. Bill Folden by 552 votes.

Assuming the Democratic pickups in 3B, 34A, 42A holds up, the new House of Delegates will have 97 99 Democrats and 44 42 Republicans.

County Races

Democrats had a really good night at the county level. In two upsets, Steuart Pittman took out incumbent County Exec. Steve Schuh in Anne Arundel, and former Councilmember Calvin Ball defeated incumbent Allen Kittleman in Howard. Ball becomes Howard’s first African-American county executive. Democrats also captured a majority on the Anne Arundel Council.

Democratic County Executive Jan Gardner won reelection over Republican Del. Kathy Afzali in Frederick. In Baltimore County, former Del. Johnny Olszewski defeated Al Redmer by 15 points in what had been billed as a nailbiter.

In Montgomery, Councilmember Marc Elrich easily dispatched not just Republican Robin Ficker but wayward Democratic Councilmember Nancy Floreen, who ran as an independent. State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks won the county executive race in Prince George’s without opposition. She becomes the first African-American woman county executive in Maryland.

In Dorchester County, Democrats won one more seat on the county council, giving them a majority (as in Anne Arundel noted above). Democrats also won an additional council seat apiece in Talbot and Worcester, as well as two more in Wicomico. That gives Dems a net gain of 6 county legislative seats and a total of 52. Republicans are down to 73 from 79.

Democrats retained control of all of the seats in Charles, Montgomery and Prince George’s, and held their majorities in Baltimore and Howard Counties.

Republicans can take minor solace that they retained their one seat majority in Frederick and continue to hold all the seats in Carroll and Harford Counties. They also continue to rule in the vast majority of Maryland’s many more rural counties on the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland, as well as in Calvert and St, Mary’s.

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Happy Birthday, Susie Turnbull

Susie Turnbull and Ben Jealous

It’s Susie Turnbull’s birthday. I bet the gift she’d like the most from her fellow Democrats is if you’d get yourself to the early voting polls and vote for Ben Jealous-Susan Turnball for Governor and Lieutenant Governor.

Remember that, if you live in Montgomery County, you can find information on where to vote early and the wait times on the Board of Elections website. Regardless of your voting preferences, I hope you’ll take advantage of the right to vote.

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How Will Turnout Matter This Election Cycle?

I’ve been covering who has been turning out in early voting heavily the past few days. There is little evidence of a wave of young voters turning out that will carry the Democrats to victory. At the same time, the electorate looks much improved for Democrats from 2014 even if it is not showing signs of being as favorable to them as the 2016 presidential electorate.

Of course, we won’t know the complete picture about how turnout has changed from either 2014 or 2016 until all the votes have been cast. But it seems important to take a moment to pause from statistics to  consider when and how turnout dynamics matter.

Turnout Won’t Matter in the Governor’s Race

Based on the polls, Ben Jealous is in dire trouble. In a future post, I hope to explore why Jealous is flailing despite Maryland’s favorable demographics that should be even more favorable due to shifts in voting behavior unleashed by Trump in a future post. In a nutshell, he losing far too much of the Democratic base.

Anthony Brown fared poorly among white voters four years ago. Ben Jealous looks set to do even worse even as Democrats elsewhere look poised to make substantial gains among highly educated women. Equally problematic, he is hemorrhaging support among nonwhite voters.

Even the most favorable Democratic turnout wind cannot save Jealous from these fundamental problems. They could help close the gap with Hogan but that would merely serve to make his loss somewhat more respectable. But there is no way that Jealous can win the election if he loses roughly 30% of Democratic voters as polls currently indicate.

Who Votes Matters More Down Ballot

Republicans are hoping that there will be a Larry Hogan wave that gives them enough seats in the General Assembly to uphold his veto in at least one house. They’ve focused particularly hard pm the Senate in their “drive for five.”

Except to my surprise in our polarized era, voters seem quite inclined to split their tickets. The same polls that show Larry Hogan receiving a vote share in the high 50s reveal similar proportions wanting Democrats to control the legislature.

In 2014, the Republicans picked up the low hanging fruit in several districts that had long leaned more Republican in national elections and became even more so with Trumpian populism. But there were simply enormous gaps in support for Hogan and Republican legislative candidates elsewhere.

That pattern could easily appear again in 2018. Gov. Hogan has framed this election as a vote to maintain what he presents as our much improved status quo and that he works well with the legislature. That’s hardly an argument to throw out Democrats in the General Assembly.

Republicans are hoping that better candidates and huge financial investments will change this dynamic. But Democrats who defect for Hogan may not be so quick to do so when presented with different candidates. Democrats who think Hogan is fine or Jealous has too many unrealistically expensive plans will often find their local Democratic candidate better attuned to their patch and deem the Republican too right wing.

In Senate races with Democratic incumbents fighting a tough battle for reelection, such as Ron Young in Frederick or Kathy Klausmeier in Baltimore County, a more favorable electorate could provide them with a crucial cushion.

It could also make a difference in the many exciting county executive races and help, for example, carry Johnny Oleszewski into office in Baltimore County. The races in Howard and Anne Arundel have also tightened, though it’s unclear how much. If Democratic challengers can get within a few points, a more favorable electorate could open the door to an upset. It won’t be enough to overcome a spread that looks more like 55-45.

In short, this year, turnout dynamics look likely to have the potential to play a crucial difference around the margins but the candidates have to get close enough for the margin to make a difference.

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Sorry Larry, Not Nearly Good Enough on Trump

Gov. Larry Hogan has received plaudits for his willingness to utter any criticisms of Donald Trump’s grotesque behavior, in contrast to the lapdog approach that prevails among Republicans. Nevertheless, Hogan has been quite reluctant to criticize Trump and extremely strategic in both when and how he does it.

Larry Hogan relies regularly on one excuse to explain his usual unwillingness to comment on Trump:

But during the Obama administration, during the Trump administration, I always said: “I didn’t run for Congress. I didn’t run for the Senate. I’m not in Washington. My focus — what they hired me to do — was run the state of Maryland.”

Funnily enough, Hogan’s self-proclaimed laser-like focus on Maryland and reticence to attack the president or engage in national policy debates fell away when he opposed allowing Syrian refugees to be settled in Maryland when Barack Obama was president. Who knew that states set refugee policy?

In contrast, Hogan had nothing to say on Trump’s Muslim ban because “it didn’t rise to the point where it was something I thought I should weigh in on” notwithstanding massive protests at BWI. Earlier this year, Hogan opposed the separation of kids from parents at the border when Trump’s reactionary immigration policy threatened to imperil his own political future.

It’s not unusual that Hogan’s pique at having to comment on issues outside of Maryland melts away quickly when it suits his purposes. Taking time to campaign for Chris Christie in New Jersey and Ed Gillespie in Virginia sure wasn’t part of running Maryland. Hogan went out and stumped for Gillespie even as the campaign emulated Corey Stewart and went full Trump in its demagoguery.

In contrast, Hogan had nothing to say about the Republican tax bill in Washington that ended the state and local tax deduction – a major hit on many of his Maryland constituents. Sure seems news of the weird when a Republican won’t attack Washington for raising taxes on his constituents.

Even a cursory analysis reveals that Hogan’s gentle criticisms of Trump’s policies are often made without mentioning the president. Sstatements on Trump himself are usually calibrated carefully to appeal to Trump supporters even as he maintains his political viability in this heavily Democratic state.

Hogan’s statements on the Mueller investigation are typical. Right after Hogan said that ending the Mueller investigation “would be a step too far,” the Governor reflexively echoed the president’s talking point that “the investigation is going too far afield of its original intent.”

It’s classic Hogan, sound centrist but then immediately pivot to shore up the Trump base. Incredibly, Hogan also stated that “I can’t sit in judgment. Whether I like what’s going on, the people overwhelmingly elected him as president.” Overwhelmingly.

Yes, Hogan has clearly spoken out more than most Republican politicians. But it has been only occasionally and grudgingly. He benefits enormously from grade inflation stemming from the supine posture of virtually all Republicans towards Donald Trump.

When you think about the endless Republican efforts to somehow turn the tragedy in Benghazi into a crime by Hillary Clinton, their total lack of interest in any of Trump’s public violation of our laws and democratic norms is even more amazing.

Gov. Larry Hogan has greater responsibility to speak up precisely because he is a Republican. It ought to be more reprehensible to him when a member of his own party acts abominably than a Democrat because it reflects on his party.

Moreover, as a member of the same party, statements by Hogan against Trump’s routine breakage of presidential and democratic norms would carry more weight in our overly polarized era. Hogan has handled Trump very deftly from a political perspective. But political acumen is not the same as moral leadership.

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Why is Ben Jealous Losing? One Reason: Money

In a state that voted over 60% for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton and in which 48% of voters strongly disapprove of Donald Trump, you’d think our Republican Governor would face a steep climb to reelection. In an interview with Mother Jones early this year, Jealous claimed “Donald Trump will take care of Larry Hogan.”

it’s just not working out that way. Even if the race tightens, most polls suggest that Larry Hogan is about to romp home with the largest victory margin for a Republican in eons. Jealous’s campaign manager complains feebly that the “polling is just wrong.”

What happened?

All campaigns understandably like to describe themselves as people powered but money remains the mother’s milk of politics. The campaign with the most money doesn’t always win but more money doesn’t hurt. Even if they can’t raise more than their opponent, campaigns need enough of the green to get their message out. The 2018 gubernatorial race has been no exception.

In the Democratic primary, Jealous used his national connections to handily out raise his opponents. Moreover, organizations pay attention to fundraising and Jealous leveraged his prowess to gain further support.

Jealous benefited additionally from outside expenditures in excess of $1 million that paid for a burst of television ads in Baltimore as the campaign drew to a close. Put in context, this amount exceeded the total raised by any single candidate according to the final pre-primary campaign finance report.

In an uncomfortable symmetry, Jealous now finds himself in the position of his primary opponents. During the primary, Jealous boasted that he could raise in excess of $10 million for the general election. But Jealous raised $1.1 million in the two months following the primary.

Hogan took in $2.5 million over the same short period, leaving him a total of $9.4 million to spend at in the final months of the campaign. Compounding Jealous’s problems, the Republican Governors Association has spent  $1.4 million to boost Hogan. Unlike in the primary, no outside groups seem willing to aid Jealous.

As a result, Hogan has been able to pound home the message the Jealous is a far-left candidate and tout himself as a moderate fellow who survived cancer and turned around Maryland. Jealous’s lack of funds has left Hogan’s attacks unanswered.

Leaving aside Hogan’s barrage, I could almost swear I live in Virginia. I now know that Barbara Trumpstock votes more with Big Orange than any other Virginia representative. Genial Tim Kaine has joined her as a regular presence on the box. I even saw a stray ad for Ben Cardin. Nothing from Ben Jealous.

If the Jealous campaign is spending money to communicate by other means in my neck of the woods, they’re hiding it well. Nothing from the welter of progressive organizations backing him either. Ads for Marc Elrich have started appearing in my web searches. Nothing from Jealous. No email. No snail mail. No phone calls. No texts. No door knocking. No carrier pigeons. Nothing.

Heck, I can’t recall having laid eyes on a single yard sign for Jealous.

Despite his vaunted fundraising and community organizing skills at the NAACP, the campaign has not raised enough to be competitive in a statewide race against a strong opponent. Voters are learning little about the candidate or his message from the campaign. Larry Hogan has been happy to fill in the blanks.

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Sun Endorses Larry Hogan

Though frequently critical of Gov. Larry Hogan and supporters of Jealous in the primary, the Baltimore Sun has endorsed Hogan for reelection:

Mr. Hogan’s stewardship of state finances has been sound. He has neither made large new spending commitments nor attempted big tax cuts but has instead maintained a steady approach to the budget. This year, when it became clear that unintended side effects of the federal tax cuts would increase state income tax collections, he again worked cooperatively with the legislature to offer protection for lower-income Marylanders while banking much of the windfall to lay the groundwork for a major increase in education spending related to the expected findings of the Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education. His adoption of the Democrats’ proposal for a “lockbox” for casino revenue is another step along the same path.

That last point reflects something unusual about Mr. Hogan — his willingness to adopt (some would say, co-opt) ideas and policies first proffered by Democrats and claim credit for them. He has shown himself to be adept at jumping on politically popular bandwagons, whether that’s the fracking ban, the lockbox or free community college. It drives Annapolis Democrats nuts. They argue, not without some justification, that Mr. Hogan has no real agenda and is instead running on theirs. To which we would respond: How exactly is that going badly? We are accustomed in Maryland to governors who are the real drivers of policy, but what we have instead with Mr. Hogan is a governor who sometimes seeks to put the brakes on the legislature’s policy initiatives but otherwise focuses on the day-to-day business of running the state. Consequently, Mr. Hogan has offered little in the way of an agenda for his second term beyond offering more of the same.

The Sun joins the Washington Post and the Annapolis Capital in endorsing the Governor for reelection.

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