2014 saw a record-breaking Republican wave. Disappointed with Obama-era policies, Republicans had a net gain of nine seats in the United States Senate, the largest for either party since 1980. They also gained 13 seats in the House of Representatives, giving them their largest majority in the House since 1928. On the state-level, Republican Governors won two seats previously occupied by Democrats, a net gain of two seats.
The most unexpected and unlikely Republican gubernatorial pickup? Maryland. When the dust from the party primaries cleared, Republicans chose Larry Hogan, a member of Governor Ehrlich’s Cabinet who had never held elected office before, against sitting Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. Brown was the handpicked successor of Governor Martin O’Malley. In a state where Democratic registered voters outnumber Republicans by a two-to-one margin, there seemed to be little hope for the real estate executive from Anne Arundel County.
But as the campaign wore on, Mr. Hogan was staying competitive against all odds. Even Maryland Democrats seemed uninspired by four more years of Martin O’Malley. Focusing on taxes and the economy, he pulled a huge five-point upset. Now came the real challenge of being a Republican Governor in an overwhelmingly Democratic state.
Despite battling cancer early in his term, Governor Hogan delivered on a promise to cut $1.7 billion in waste from the state government. He rolled back road, tunnel, and bridge tolls, and pared back fees paid to some state agencies. He has signed three consecutive budgets without a tax increase. Since he took office, Maryland went from losing 100,000 jobs to creating over 110,000 new jobs by bringing new private sector opportunities to Maryland that will position the state for further growth. All these changes have moved Maryland from 49th in job creation to 10th.
As Governor Hogan has said, “we can disagree without being disagreeable.” He is evidence that we all have the same noble goal of a prosperous economy that provides opportunity, but different ways and paths to get there. Marylanders are seeing after eight years of full party Democratic control what a Republican Governor has done in less than three years. Focusing on commonsense reforms like small government and fiscal responsibility, Governor Hogan provides a bright path for all in the Old Line state, truly showing that Maryland is open for business.
The RNLA is pleased to have Governor Hogan speak at its September luncheon in Washington, D.C. this Friday, September 1 at noon at the Capitol Hill Club. More information is here, but this event is now sold out.
This blog post was written by RNLA Maryland Chapter Chair Brian Bennett.