The Arbutus native who was a graduate of Gilman School, Princeton University and Wake Forest University Law School, served in the House of Delegates from 1987 to 1995. He was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1993, where he remained until 2003. He was elected governor in 2002 -- the first Republican since Spiro Agnew -- and like many of his recent predecessors, made improving education a centerpiece of his administration, through the efforts of the Thornton Plan and the charter school law. He signed into law the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act in 2004, which was hailed by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, established a secretary of disabilities, and ended the moratorium on executions that had been put in place by Glendening. In the 2006 gubernatorial election, he was beaten by former Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley. He opposed O'Malley again in 2010, and lost once again.