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Hogan best choice for Harford [The Aegis Endorsement]

Ralph Cranston, a Vietnam veteran from Bel Air, talks to Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan during the candidate's stopover in Bel Air Thursday.
Ralph Cranston, a Vietnam veteran from Bel Air, talks to Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan during the candidate's stopover in Bel Air Thursday. (DAVID ANDERSON | AEGIS STAFF / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

The race for governor is in play this general election season, something that often isn't the case in Maryland. With rare exception over the past several decades, the governor's race has been decided in the Democratic Primary.

This year, however, there's a measure of dissatisfaction with Democratic incumbent Martin O'Malley, whose lieutenant governor, Anthony Brown, is looking to move up to the top spot. A recent Baltimore Sun poll found Maryland voters weren't likely to vote for O'Malley if he were to run for president. This can't be good news for Brown, who is pitted against a reasonably strong Republican in Larry Hogan.

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Hogan has never been elected to public office, but he did serve in the cabinet of former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., and his father was a Congressman, so he has less experience in public life than the average elected official, but more than the average person. And he's running a fairly well-financed and well-organized campaign.

It may not be a toss-up, but the race is hardly a foregone conclusion.

Both candidates have their weaknesses as well as their strong points.

Brown was the point person for the disastrous rollout of the Maryland health care exchange program when the Affordable Care Act went into effect last fall, but he also has been an effective representative of the O'Malley administration in public settings before often skeptical gatherings in Harford County.

Hogan lacks experience in elected office, but is the owner of a successful real estate business.

Regardless of who ends up in the governor's office, Harford County isn't likely to see any meaningful change in a funding dynamic that has resulted in relatively few state-funded local projects. The state's population center is very much in Baltimore and the suburban counties between it and Washington, D.C. Those areas have been the focus of many a large-scale state project in recent years – from the InterCounty Connector to extensions of commuter rail service – and it's hard to see that changing, regardless of the governor's party.

Still, if Hogan were to be elected, and he were able to come to an accommodation with the Democratic-controlled General Assembly in a way that Republican Ehrlich wasn't, Harford County and other GOP-leaning counties could end up with better deals when state budgets are devised.

Harford County, decidedly Republican for many election cycles, would be better off under a Republican governor. The Aegis recommends voters cast their ballots for Larry Hogan.

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