Nothing could be more energizing for Maryland Democrats than knowing The Baltimore Sun thinks we are the underdog ("Is Gov. Hogan unbeatable?" Oct. 5).
We have been written off before. Folks said we were finished after the 2002 election. GOP operatives started planning to pick off 14 Democrats in the House of Delegates and five in the Senate. A self-funding Republican challenged Sen. Barbara Mikulski. The sky was the limit for Maryland Republicans.
Then Marylanders went to the polls again.
Senator Mikulski humiliated her opponent, and John Kerry carried the state in 2004. We channeled the energy from that election into state races, reclaiming the governor's office by a margin of more than 115,000 votes. The gains for the GOP in the legislature did not materialize. House Speaker Michael E. Busch, whom many had left for dead, cruised to re-election and expanded the majority in his chamber by six seats.
The reason for these victories is simple: A majority of Marylanders share the Democratic Party's values. They support our fight to improve public education, expand workers' rights and consumer protections, and protect middle class families. They share our commitment to increasing opportunity for all. When we run on these principles, we win.
Last year's election underscores the point. While Larry Hogan was squeaking by, Marylanders overwhelmingly chose a nationally recognized progressive leader as attorney general. Marylanders re-elected veto-proof Democratic majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly, and chose Democrats to lead most of the state's major jurisdictions. Where our candidates ran on issues that matter to middle class Marylanders, our candidates won.
That underdog thing? It gets us out of bed in the morning. The last time we were written off, we got smarter and stronger, and we won big at the ballot box. We are going to do it again in 2016 and beyond.
D. Bruce Poole, Annapolis
The writer is chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party.