2018 Maryland Political Winners & Losers

This is a photograph of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and his 2018 gubernatorial opponent, Ben Jealous, the former head of the NAACP.

The 2018 Maryland political winners and losers presented by A Miner Detail.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan 

Larry Hogan won a second gubernatorial term in November 2018.

Maryland’s Republican governor proved rejecting partisan extremism is a potent cocktail for winning elections in a purple state.

Mr. Hogan’s resounding victory makes him the second Republican governor re-elected to a second term in over 50 years.

How did he do it?

Mr. Bogan built a political playbook that other Republicans should photocopy; it’s one that national Republicans should consider adopting and implementing if they want to win future elections.

Mr. Hogan has an uncanny ability to humanize politics; he doesn’t have to work hard to make people like him.

Larry Hogan opened himself up to Marylanders, and Marylanders accepted him.

Gov. Hogan’s historic win isn’t a big secret in election politics.

He showed up in every nook and cranny of the state and conducted himself like a gentleman.

What else is left to say about Larry Hogan?

His next four years will speak for themselves.

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot

Peter Franchot is the consummate disruptor of stodgy, machine-driven Annapolis politics has shown that bipartisanship wins. Bar none.

Maryland’s tax collector and small business promoter is an enigma for some partisans who operate within the framework of the Maryland establishment, especially those who run the Annapolis Machine; they’ll never get Franchot, and they’ll never seek to understand him.

The comptroller is precisely popular with Marylanders because he doesn’t buy into the same intellectually bankrupt Annapolis Machine that demands loyalty above all else and expects it in return – and, in most cases, doesn’t return it.

The far-left disdain aimed at Franchot, who has always been a pragmatic progressive, has seemingly run its course.

Franchot dares to use bipartisanship in a complete sentence – an idea that many subscribers of the hard-left claim to champion and wish more of existed, but, of course, when the time comes to put up or shut up, their ideology and dogmatism disallow it.

The Annapolis Machine can try and strip Franchot of his powers and even go so far as to kill legislation that reforms Maryland’s craft beer industry.

Good luck.

It won’t work; the more the Annapolis Machine seeks to torment Franchot into submission, the more popular he becomes with everyday Marylanders.

Suppose there ever was a little guy up against an all-encroaching Goliath. In that case, that little guy is Peter Franchot in this epic battle, whom even the most conservative Republicans dub “their favorite Democrat.”

Competent elected officials surround themselves with all-star teams.

Team Franchot has hired some of the most intellectually savvy gals and guys in state politics, young wonks of erudite understanding of policy, led by their inimitably cunning commander, Len Foxwell, the most talented Maryland political operator and strategist in decades.

A possible Franchot 2022 gubernatorial bid will remain a constant water cooler discussion amid politicos over the next four years.

Whatever Franchot’s political future holds, the renegade Democrat’s mission remains the same: Advocate for the Maryland taxpayer.

Maryland Matters Captures The Best Of Maryland Political News 

Gripping news, thoughtful commentary, and political insight define one of Maryland’s hottest new online media outlets.

Maryland Matters offers excellent reporting and political coverage throughout the 2018 political cycle.

Josh Kurtz is the brains behind Maryland Matters.

Mr. Kurtz is an old-school political reporter with a knack for details.

His encyclopedic knowledge of Maryland politics is genuinely something to behold.

Maryland Matters has grown its readership precipitously over the last year; it has become a consummate go-to source for breaking news in state government.

It’s not easy to start a news outlet from scratch.

Maryland Democratic County Executives 

Maryland’s Democratic county executives are from Maryland’s largest and most populated counties.

It was a clean sweep for the rising political stars.

A year ago, who would have thought that Allan Kittleman and Steve Schuh would go down in defeat, losing to Calvin Ball and Steuart Pittman, respectively?

What to make of their losses? Was it the Trump trickle-down effect that ousted the popular Allan Kittleman? Did Steve Schuh’s rush to overdevelop Anne Arundel County contribute to his political takedown? That’s for you to decide.

Keep an eye on the new county executives, who may launch their bids for governor in 2022.

Robin Ficker 

The perennial Montgomery County political candidate may have lost his bid to lead Maryland’s most populated county (as expected).

However, because of his efforts and hard work, term limits were placed on the ballot and went into effect this cycle.

It’s worth noting that 70+% of Montgomery County voters supported term limits in 2016.

Whether you concede a win to Ficker or not, it’s still a win. Because of Ficker, Montgomery County has a brand-new County Council. Some say for the better.

Adam Pagnucco

Montgomery County’s brightest political analyst and deep-sea data diver.

There is undoubtedly no more imaginative analyst in Montgomery County than Pagnucco, who can break down data and present it in a way that makes sense to the average person.

Pagnucco’s almost daily columns in the Seventh State blog were must-reads if you endeavored to understand the function of County politics and the numbers behind the numbers, especially in an election year.

Later in the year, Bethesda Magazine publisher and editor Steve Hull hired Pagnucco to write a weekly political column.

Pagnucco’s Bethesda Beat opinion pieces are some of the most discussed and talked about columns, with the most significant number of comments!

Politicians and surrounding news outlets often quote Pagnucco’s weekly columns. Some of his work likely changed how the Montgomery County government does business – and for the better.

If you want to understand the inside scoop on Montgomery County government, Pagnucco is the go-to source, and 2018 saw Pagnucco’s finest work.

Salisbury Mayor Jake Day

Jake Day is the first-term mayor of Salisbury.

The revitalization of Salisbury’s downtown and its marketing overhaul has rejuvenated a city that longed for its untapped potential to shine.

Day, alongside his city council, is an example of responsible municipal governance.

Public Financing

Public financing opened the floodgates for new candidates to run for office in Montgomery County, most of whom took advantage of the relatively uncomplicated system.

Most of Montgomery County’s nine-member Council used public financing to their benefit.

Moreover, County Executive Marc Elrich, a champion of the public financing model, proved the new system’s effectiveness.

After all, Elrich’s 77-vote upset over David Blair in the Democratic primary and Nancy Floreen, a Democrat-turned-Independent, in the general election, respectively, proved that the system worked. Both Blair and Floreen funded their campaigns through traditional campaign funding.

Evan Glass 

Evan Glass is Montgomery County’s first openly gay councilmember-at-large, who, arguably, ran one of the best campaigns in Montgomery County history.

A former journalist who covered national politics, Glass was narrowly defeated in 2014 by Councilman Tom Hucker, now Glass’ colleague on the Council.

In his 2018 comeback, Glass didn’t stick to the down-County bubble. Instead, he adopted an all-county approach, spending significant time in up-county and listening to voters’ concerns. It was a winning strategy.

It never hurts to have a former journalist run for office and win.

Jesse Colvin

Mr. Colvin’s loss to Andy Harris taught Maryland that it’s probably better to run moderate Democrats in heavily Republican districts.

But then again, Colvin lost, though he was an ideal candidate who, given a few more years operating in Maryland political circles, could eke out a win.

Colvin conducted himself like a gentleman and ran on a bipartisan policy platform.

Will he stay around and attempt a second congressional bid, or will he exit Maryland politics?

Kathleen Matthews

Kathleen Matthews is a former Maryland Democratic Party Chair who led Maryland Democratic candidates to significant victories during the 2018 campaign.

Democrats managed to pick up eight additional state House seats, and they held off the Republican effort to pick up five seats in the state Senate.

Moreover, several county councils switched from Republican to Democratic control. Plus, Kittleman and Schuh, both Republican county executives, were defeated by Democrats.

Matthews’ reward: She was ousted from the chair position on Dec. 1 by party activists.

She’s a winner by every metric.

The Capital Gazette

The Capital Gazette will overcome.

Referring to any journalist as “The Enemy of the People” is an insult that we cannot ignore or tolerate.

In 2018, journalists around the world had some of their finest hours.

David Moon’s Old Bay Joke

If you don’t get it, you still won’t get it. It was hilarious.

The 2018 Maryland Political Losers

Ben Jealous 

Mr. Jealous is a former NAACP chief who surprised the Maryland political establishment with an upset win over Rushen Baker, the Maryland Democratic Party’s establishment choice for governor in 2018.

A well-intentioned progressive, Ben Jealous‘s campaign was fought with several notable blunders.

Winning a statewide race requires money and an astute political team – and Ben Jealous had neither.

It’s unlikely you’ll see a comeback from Ben Jealous in Maryland.

The Maryland Republican Party

The Maryland Republican Party lost losing House seats in the 2018 election cycle.

Do you remember the MDGOP’s “Drive for Five” campaign? It was a clever-enough election scheme with good intentions to elect five additional Republicans to the Maryland Senate.

It failed.

After a humiliating defeat, it speaks volumes that state Republicans re-elected its chairman, Dirk Haire.

Earlier this year, while attending a Republican dinner in Hagerstown, Haire was quoted by local media calling Md. Attorney General Brian Frosh “evil.” Even an intemperate remark did not dissuade Maryland Republicans from voting to re-elect a pronounced defeated leader.

Gov. Hogan knew to keep his distance from a state Republican Party far more in tune with Donald Trump than his brand of politics.

Unless the Maryland GOP moderates, worthy Republican candidates are destined to lose.

Maryland Congressman Andy Harris 

Andy Harris won re-election in 2018.

How did Andy Harris win?

Can you name one of his legislative accomplishments?

Just one.

We’ll wait.

Washington County 

The rural Western Maryland county is on fire with corruption and crippling mismanagement.

County employees’ morale is at an all-time low, exacerbated by, employees say, senior county officials’ – the county’s administrator, HR director, and chief operating officer – extreme paranoia and ongoing verbal abuse.

The all-male, all-white, all-Republican commissioner board was embroiled in scandal after scandal throughout 2018.

Additionally, the putrid stench leftover from a former commissioner’s misdeeds during a South Korean business development trip and the subsequent investigations in its aftermath has left county residents feeling less than confident.

While county residents had an opportunity to alter its five-member commissioner board in the November election dramatically, voters opted to re-elect an all-white, all-male, all-Republican group, including the former commissioners’ president, who this summer was credibly accused of domestic violence against his soon-to-be ex-wife.

Meanwhile, county residents rejected qualified women for county office.

They turned down a brilliant state’s attorney candidate for no other reason than they had a “D” in front of their names on the ballot.

Some things never change.

Maryland Political Extremism

The far-left and the far-right in Maryland politics, both of whom share a mutual disdain for moderation and pragmatism, were utterly defeated in this Maryland political cycle.

Maryland voters categorically rebuked Trumpian ideology and the inflexible Our Revolution crew.

Nonetheless, the polarizing extremes of both parties still grumble incessantly on social media with the comfort of self-containment, all operating well within their limited political bubbles.

Instead of seeking to understand why most Marylanders reject political extremists, the rigid ideologues seemingly haven’t learned how to operate effectively within Maryland’s political walls.

The two-party ideological adherents will show no grace to moderates, and they’ll close the entranceway to their tents, disallowing anyone inside who doesn’t sniff the purist glue.

For that reason (and others), Maryland’s dutiful political extremists will continue to lose elections and nominate incorrigible candidates.

Kevin Kamenetz Death

Then-Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died in May 2018.

Kamenetz’s death shocked all of us who follow politics and see one another at the various events too numerous to count.

He was known as a technocrat who could get something done in government and didn’t worry too much about politics.

We’ll never know whether Kevin Kamenetz would have won the gubernatorial primary.

But his untimely death uprooted Maryland’s 2018 gubernatorial primary in a way no one could have imagined.

Mr. Kamenetz leaves behind his wife, Jill Kamenetz, and two sons.

More Maryland Political Winners & Losers

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