On Tuesday, as a part of the momentous 2018 midterm election, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan was re-elected for a second term in office. Hogan is a fairly popular figure, and there is always the added factor of incumbent advantage, so why is this so unusual?

Larry Hogan is a Republican.

Maryland is a deeply democratic state; in 2016 votes for Hillary Clinton outnumbered votes for Donald Trump by about 26.4 percent and in 2012 former president Barack Obama won the state by a margin of about 26.1 percent, as was reported by The New York Times, so the strong democratic majority in the state makes Hogan’s victory over democratic challenger Ben Jealous surprising, to say the least.

Ben Jealous, the democratic candidate for the position and former president and CEO of the NAACP, faced off against Hogan on a solid progressive platform, taking a strong stance on issues such as raising the minimum wage to fifteen dollars an hour and universal health care, as was reported in The Washington Post.

Ben Jealous via People’s World.

Hogan may be a tad bit more moderate than the average Republican, but the election of a man who was quoted in a Baltimore Sun article as saying “Mike Pence and Chris Christie are probably the two guys I’m closest to among the Republican governors” over the Obama-endorsed Ben Jealous to become only the second Republican official to be elected to a second term in Maryland state history is puzzling.

So what does this mean for Maryland? Why is so much of the population willing to vote against their party and re-elect Hogan? As is expected from a Republican with so many democratic supporters, Hogan’s time in office has undeniably led to some positive changes, notably his improvement of transportation infrastructure and dedication to revitalization of the Chesapeake Bay.

Nonetheless, he has made some questionable decisions that are sure to leave progressives with a strange taste in their mouths. For one, Hogan refused to sign a 2015 bill that would lead to greater protections for members of the LGBT community and his relationship with the NRA and gun-control laws has been tumultuous, to say the least.

The 2018 midterm election was a mixed bag, and although the Democrats were able to take the House of Representatives, it is a notable disappointment that they were unable to claim the governorship in one of their own states. Hogan has undoubtedly caused some positive change and while he is certainly not the worst case scenario for a Republican governor, Democrats should ask themselves: is he really the best?

Photo: Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun

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