The first and only debate of the 2018 Maryland gubernatorial race was a fiery one, as Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and his Democratic challenger Ben Jealous repeatedly ignored time limits to interrupt and hurl accusations at each other.
The candidates got through nine questions during the hourlong event on Monday (the expectation was that they’d answer 12). Hogan spoke for about 29 minutes; Jealous 24.
Here’s a play-by-play of the most contentious moments.
6:30 to 8:28 — “Not a single word you said was true” (Hogan)
The governor accused Jealous of misrepresenting job growth statistics in Maryland, claiming that he took the state from last place to first place in the region. (Maryland did lead the mid-Atlantic region in August 2018, though monthly data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is volatile and subject to revision.)
Jealous encouraged Hogan to visit his website for more details on the stats. Hogan shot back, “I’m not going to go to benjealous.com.”
16:34 to 17:50 — “From Willie Horton to Donald Trump” and the Republican party “playbook” (Jealous)
Jealous attempted to link Hogan’s criticism of his plan to reduce the prison population to a Republican “playbook.”
Willie Horton, a convicted killer featured in a notorious 1988 political ad, raped a woman while out of prison on a weekend furlough. The spot was designed to play on fears that Democrats were supposedly soft on crime, but the ad featuring the black felon is now widely condemned as racist.
This isn’t the only time Horton’s name has been invoked in recent years. Last summer, former Vice President Joe Biden called a Republican ad in New Jersey’s gubernatorial race “the return of Willie Horton.” In a now-deleted tweet sent in 2016, former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, then the RNC’s chief strategist, shared a news report about a “Willie Horton-style Attack” ad on then-vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine.
19:11 to 20:00 — “Willie Horton and Donald Trump don't have much to do with this” (Hogan)