Maryland voters have re-elected Republican Gov. Larry Hogan after Democrats hoped a "blue wave" of strong turnout would carry challenger Ben Jealous to the governor's office.
Hogan won though Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state 2-1. A moderate Republican who has emphasized bipartisanship, Hogan has become the first Republican governor to win re-election in Maryland since 1954.
Hogan said a second term would look a lot like his first, and his priorities are the same: aiming to make improvements in education, job creation and transportation infrastructure. He said he also wants to continue working for tax relief.
Jealous is a former national president of the NAACP who would have been Maryland's first black governor. He won support from leading liberals on the national stage, including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont. He proposed a progressive agenda that included tuition-free college and expanding Medicare to all. He supported funding full-day, universal pre-kindergarten with tax revenue from his proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use.
The Jealous campaign believed higher turnout would add up to victory in a state where President Donald Trump is unpopular, even if Hogan had the advantages of incumbency and a fundraising edge.
Much of Maryland's rural areas are Republican. That made success for Democrats in statewide races largely dependent on support in the state's heavily populated and Democratic areas, including Baltimore and Prince George's and Montgomery counties.
Voters have elected just two black governors in U.S. history — in 2006 in Massachusetts and 1989 in Virginia. Jealous was one of three black candidates running for governor this year, along with Democrats Stacey Abrams of Georgia and Andrew Gillum of Florida. Jealous faced the steepest challenge of the three, running against an incumbent while Abrams and Gillum are running for open seats.
Democrats are looking to at least keep their 7-1 advantage in the state's U.S. House delegation by winning an open seat in western Maryland.