Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan became the first Republican governor to win re-election in the state since the 1950s, rolling to victory Tuesday over Democrat Ben Jealous in a race the governor said puts a red hue on a formerly deep blue state.
Now, he says, it’s time to spread the red, flexing his muscle on major political battles such as the upcoming redistricting process.
The Associated Press called the race for the 62-year-old governor at 9:07 p.m. — one bright spot for the GOP in what was expected to be an electoral bloodbath for Republican-held governor’s mansions across the country.
“Four years ago, we ushered in a new era of bipartisanship,” Mr. Hogan told supporters Tuesday evening. “I’m proud we’re setting an example for the rest of America.”
Mr. Hogan won easily in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin, avoiding entanglements in hot-button social issues and focusing on the state’s business climate and local concerns such as traffic congestion. He also wasn’t shy about distancing himself from President Trump on touchy immigration policy questions.
“It’s still a Democratic state, but we’ve made it a place that can be competitive,” Mr. Hogan told The Washington Times in the run-up to Election Day.
He touted his ability to hold the line on taxes during his first term, said he’ll push for more accountability in education spending, and keep a focus on environmental stewardship.
But he said he’ll also invest second-term political capital on redistricting, which states will do after the 2020 census, redrawing state and congressional legislative districts.
Democrats who controlled the process the last go-around gerrymandered the lines to ensure only a single Republican-leaning district.