Maryland faced a historic election Tuesday, as voters headed to the polls to elect Democratic candidate Wes Moore, Maryland’s first Black governor.
Hopeful candidates gathered at parties, their eyes trained on results that poured in from across the state after the polls closed at 8 p.m.
Here are a few things we took away from election night and the weeks leading up to it.
A truly historic slate
Mere minutes after the polls closed, The Associated Press called the race for Moore, who will become the state’s first Black governor upon his inauguration in January. But Moore said he isn’t so concerned about the historic aspect of his victory.
“I want to make sure that our long-term legacy is not that I have made history,” Moore said after his election night party Tuesday. “I want that to be something that gets brought up after people talk about the other things that we accomplished as the governor of the state of Maryland, and then the final thing they say is ‘And, by the way, he was the first Black governor in the history of the state.’”
But the importance of Tuesday’s election doesn’t end with Moore: His running mate, Aruna Miller, will be Maryland’s first immigrant and Asian American lieutenant governor. Congressman Anthony Brown will become the first Black attorney general and Brooke Lierman will be the first female comptroller and the first woman directly elected to a statewide office.
Cox admits he’s in the hole but doesn’t concede
Cox made his first comments about the results 2 1/2 hours after the AP called the race Tuesday night. He acknowledged that he was behind but did not concede, saying he wants all votes to be counted.
”It’s not looking good,” said Cox, who had refused to say in recent weeks that he would accept the eventual results of the election.
”I’m not going to lie to you. This is a difficult race,” Cox said just before 11 p.m. “We’re not doing as well as I had hoped in places like Baltimore County. So, it’s very, very tough.”
A screen showing the results was turned off as the night continued.
It was unclear whether Cox would concede as the counting was set to continue for several days, especially as large numbers of mail-in ballots waited to be processed.
Though the races were called, the wait for mail-in ballots continues
Moore’s lead by the end of Tuesday night was significant but his eventual margin of victory was still up in the air.
Ahead 879,301 votes to 545,217 votes — 60% to 37% of the total vote — Moore had the most in each of the three types of ballots reported so far: in-person Election Day ballots, in-person early ballots and mail-in ballots.
Just about all of the roughly 380,000 votes from one week of early in-person voting were released Tuesday night, showing Moore had captured 65% of those votes to Cox’s 33%.
Among the roughly 1 million Election Day votes in the race released as of midnight, Moore had won 55% and Cox had won 41%.
The outstanding batches of votes that could boost Moore’s lead further are the mail-in ballots that counties will continue to process in the coming days and that Democrats have overwhelmingly requested more than Republicans.
About 113,000 mail-in votes released so far show Moore dominating with 84% of those votes. The State Board of Elections reported that as of Monday, 400,000 of those ballots had been returned out of about 640,000 requested.
Democrats campaigned hard until the very end
In the last month, Moore, Miller, Attorney General-elect Congressman Anthony Brown and Comptroller-elect Brooke Lierman all campaigned with high-profile pols at the national level, including President Joe Biden, first lady Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
During his appearance with Biden on Monday evening, Moore said that, in spite of public polling, his campaign would continue to run as if he were 10 points behind his opponent.
Abena McAllister, a volunteer for the Moore campaign from Charles County, who attended the victory party, said:
Maryland Policy & Politics
”I’m excited. It’s a historic moment for so many reasons. Wes Moore. I am watching how he’s bringing everyone together. And it’s electrifying. It reminds me of when Barack Obama first came to [the] stage at the DNC convention. I feel that same energy surging through the Democratic Party. And around the nation, honestly.”
She’s also a member of the Charles County Democratic Central Committee. And she is the director of criminal justice reform for the state’s attorney’s office in Charles County. She’s 38.
Republicans? No such luck
Top-of-the-ticket nominees for the state GOP have had difficulty coming together since Cox, an extremist first-term delegate from Frederick County, crushed Kelly Schulz, Gov. Larry Hogan’s personal pick to fill his shoes, in the July primary.
Hogan condemned Cox’s nomination, called him a “QAnon whack job” and said he would not support or vote for him in the general election. Because of Hogan’s distaste for Cox, former Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich took the lead in ushering candidates to the polls in November.
Hogan has said little about the race for weeks but acknowledged the results early on in the evening, congratulating Moore for his win.
“Our team is committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition to the next administration, and I look forward to meeting with the governor-elect in the coming days,” Hogan said in a statement.
In a brief conversation with the press after his election party Tuesday night, Moore said that he was “thankful to receive a wonderful and a kind and a gracious call” from Hogan. According to the governor-elect, Hogan called his win an “overwhelming victory.”