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Stunning results and negative attacks in November [Eagle Archives]

On Nov. 10, the headline on a prominent local newspaper read, "A Splendid Victory for the Right!" for an article that analyzed the results from the recent election results.

Several weeks have gone by and folks are still talking about the Nov. 4 general election that saw a sea change in state, and national, electoral politics.

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As for that Nov. 10 headline? It appeared 114 years ago in the Westminster American Sentinel newspaper, according to research by Jay Graybeal for the Historical Society of Carroll County.

Also included with that headline were the phrases, ""Sound Money and American Honor Triumph.… Financial Disaster and Business Depression Averted. Patriotic and Sound Money Democrats Helped Achieve the Victory… Maryland Still in the Procession of States Which Stand for Financial Integrity … She Elects a Solid Republican Delegation to Congress. Carroll County Also in Line…"

Graybeal reports the newspaper proclaimed Republican presidential candidate William F. McKinley's victory over (William Jennings) Bryan … and also included smaller headlines that addressed the major campaign issues.

The newspaper also carried a number of small, newsy items about the election and politics that, much like the tactics of negative campaigns we see today, included several barbs about rival newspapers and local residents:

"The Baltimore Sun, which professed to shine for all, wore green goggles previous to last Tuesday. The Baltimore Sun is now pleading the baby act, and says it didn't mean all it said. The 'Sun' does not shine as brilliantly now as it did before the eclipse of Tuesday last. The 'Sun's' appeal to the fears and cowardice of the people of this State received the rebuke it deserved."

It should be noted that, in October of 1900, William Jennings Bryan, the Democratic presidential candidate visited Carroll County.

Then, 12 years later, President Theodore Roosevelt's unsuccessful 1912 presidential campaign as the Progressive Party's candidate also included a stop in Westminster.

On Nov. 12, 1898, the Democratic Advocate reported, "Election day came and went with surprising quietude. So quiet was it that many of our citizens forgot to vote. Judging from the substantial Republican majority, it was principally the Democrats who, through their apathy, lost their blood-bought suffrage..."

For a political history writer, there simply can be no state in the Union better than Maryland. The politics of the Old Line State are as unpredictable and volatile as its weather.

This year's winning gubernatorial candidate, Larry Hogan, will become only the third Republican governor since 1966. Having served in the administration of the last Republican in the statehouse, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich, Hogan knows well the perils of working with the General Assembly.

Hogan has been reported to have compared his current preparations to take office on Jan. 21 to drinking from a fire hose. Not only must he put together his administration team in two short months; but by Jan. 23, he must introduce his budget, administration bills, and shortly after, deliver the State of the State address.

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