In one of the the biggest Election Day shockers, Republican Larry Hogan pulled off a stunning victory in deep-blue Maryland to become only the second GOP governor in the state since 1969.
What’s more, Mr. Hogan defeated Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee, in a landslide. Final results showed Maryland voters went for the Republican 54 percent to 45 percent.
“What a historic night in Maryland,” Mr. Hogan said to an elated crowd at his victory party in Annapolis. “They said it couldn’t be done here in Maryland — but together, we did it!”
The trouncing of Mr. Brown also served as a rebuke to Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, whom Mr. Brown served under for two terms, and President Obama, who campaigned for Mr. Brown.
“This is an election that is going to make a difference — maybe send a message to the White House, ” said Maryland voter Mark Winters, a chief financial officer for a small manufacturing firm who cast his ballot for Mr. Hogan in Centreville on the state’s Eastern Shore, a Republican stronghold.
The Democrats’ loss in Maryland only compounded the party’s problems across the country, as Republicans also seized governorships in solid-blue Illinois and Massachusetts and the GOP won majority control of the U.S. Senate.
The upset victory in Maryland set off a series of stunned reactions on social media and elsewhere, as few thought a Republican could make serious inroads in the solidly Democratic state where Mr. O’Malley is rounding out eight years at the helm in Annapolis.
“Larry Hogan’s commitment to Maryland, its families and its future made it clear he was the best candidate to lead the state forward, and the voters agreed,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. “As their governor, he will put his forward-looking vision into action, working tirelessly to enact a common sense, pro-growth agenda that will make Maryland competitive and prosperous again.”
One of many Democrats to face defeat late Tuesday, Mr. Brown was weighed down in part by criticism over Maryland’s rollout of Obamacare.
Mr. Brown was the O’Malley administration’s point-man on the reforms, so he took the fall when Maryland’s insurance exchange failed upon launch last fall. The portal had to be overhauled with new technology ahead of the second round of enrollment, which starts in less than two weeks.
Mr. Hogan’s victory could partly be attributed to winning big in Baltimore County, where he captured about 61 percent of the vote. Mr. Hogan also won big in Anne Arundel County, garnering about 67 percent of the vote.
Mr. Brown won Montgomery County, the state’s largest jurisdiction and a Democratic stronghold, but it wasn’t enough to offset the lopsided results across the state.
Mr. Brown congratulated Mr. Hogan in his concession speech, given after midnight in College Park, and said: “We fell short of our campaign goal, but it does not and cannot diminish the work that each and every one of you have done in the communities throughout the state. … Tonight, this campaign ends. But our journey as a people and state continues.”