The Maryland Governor’s Race


There’s been a lot of analysis about how Larry Hogan beat Anthony Brown. Governor-elect Hogan worked hard for his win, and I don’t want to minimize his efforts, but Brown actively lost the election.

Brown has been singularly ineffective at any management role he was given while serving as Lieutenant Governor with Martin O’Malley. The disastrous rollout of the state’s nonfunctioning Obamacare website is the prime example.

This lack of basic organizational skills propagated through his campaign. The Gentle Reader may remember a story from a few weeks ago about folks walking out on Barack Obama during a campaign rally for Brown. I spoke with a Brown campaign volunteer who described the event as disorganized and running late. The crowd’s mood turned a bit surly. When the Democrats can’t get a crowd in Prince George’s County, Maryland, to stick around to listen their President, something has gone very wrong, and I began to suspect that Hogan had a chance.

Then, a few days later, Hillary Clinton spoke at a Brown rally on the University of Maryland campus—to a room with a lot of empty seats. At that point, I figured that Hogan would squeak by.

The big surprise was Hogan’s margin of victory. I put that down to his hard work that got the Republican base in the suburban and rural areas of the state out on election day.

Now, we will see how he can govern.

Organizational Incompetence


There’s a bit of a buzz about a significant portion of the crowd walking out on a speech by Barack Obama yesterday. While people walking out on the President of the United States is, and should be, news, it may not be the important part of the story.

The event where the President spoke was a campaign rally for Anthony Brown, the Democrats’ candidate for governor of Maryland. Last night, I happened to meet a young person who had been a volunteer campaign worker at the rally. The event had been disorganized, and the level of mismanagement soured that volunteer on politics. The volunteer bitterly expressed a desire not to get involved again.

Given that one of the main campaign issues that Brown faces is his mismanagement of Maryland’s disastrous rollout of its Obamacare website, a disorganized high-profile campaign event reinforces the impression that Brown is a lightweight bumbler.

In a couple of weeks, we will find out if that will be enough to overcome the Democrats’ registration advantage in Baltimore, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and their cemeteries.