Monday, November 3, 2014
Baltimore - The ads have run, the appearances have been made, now all there is left to do is vote. In a state with a majority of Democrats this race has been called a toss up by several major political pundits. The margin of winning is somewhere between 4 to 7 percent. Who knew Republican Larry Hogan and Democrat Anthony Brown would be in a competitive race going into Election Day.
Democrats, are banking on their built in advantage in numbers and the Presidents popularity in the state. The campaign of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman have trotted out those with unquestioned credentials. President Obama has been to this state. So have the Clinton's (Bill and Hillary). To energize African-American voters Michelle Obama came to fire up those who were thinking about sitting out.
Fear and Optimism
This race shouldn't be this close. Several of those with influence have pointed to several factors as to why. Part of it may have do with the Democratic parties 8 years of control of Annapolis. Combine this with poor national poll numbers for the President and you have recipe for voter discontent.
Ask either side do they have polling numbers to show how well they are doing? They will produce them in a moments notice.
There is talk within the Brown Camp this is closer than it should be. It is about ground game. This was apparent in early voting election totals. According to the State Board of Elections some 2 million Democratic voters cast ballots. Conversely, only 900 thousand Republicans cast ballots. The numbers tell the story and so does the money ($8.5 mil total). The Brown Campaign was able to pour money into this campaign to define Hogan. For months these ads shaped what people knew about the Republican candidate.
Hogan who accepted state financing was unable to respond. He was left arguing the ads were wrong. He effectively beat back some of the charges but, it's tough to combat a wave of negativism. Each group had some effective ads. Let me point to couple of them.
The ad with assault rifles was affective for the Brown Camp. It came as Hogan allegedly told a message board he couldn't change the law on guns but, he would appoint a Police Superintendent who would interrupt law more to his liking.
The most effect ad from the Maryland GOP came in the waning days, through a series of testimonials from Democrats. The Erhlich campaign used a similar tactic that had bumper stickers "Democrats for Erhlich." The reason why I think they were effective because they taped into a core constituency of the Democratic Party, women. This was a brilliant strategy.
The Break Through
The winner whoever it is will break a number of glass ceilings
Republican: Hogan wins and becomes the first governor to have a wife of Asian decent; he will be the first governor to have never served in elected office. He will be the first candidate to launch a campaign from social media.
Democrat: Brown wins and becomes the first African-American Governor of Maryland. He would also be the first Maryland Governor not born in the state. He will hold the unique distinction to have parents not born in the United States in modern times.
Its been a very interesting race to cover.