Republican Larry Hogan’s victory over Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, in the Maryland Governor race, was one of the most stunning political upsets this election cycle.  Maryland is a state in which Democrats hold a 2-to-1 advantage in voter registration, super-majorities in the state legislature, and all but one congressional seat. 

A large part of Hogan’s success came from drawing in the many Maryland voters who have grown tired of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s tax increases and out-of-control spending polices.  Gov. O’Malley currently has a 41 percent approval rating in Maryland, which is an eight-year low according to a recent poll.  While Gov. O’Malley was not on the ballot, his policies over the past eight years were through his Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. 

Hogan ran a disciplined race, focusing his campaign on taxes and the economy while also hammering home the negative impact that Gov. O’Malley’s policies have had over the past eight years.  It was no surprise that when Americans for Tax Reform previously compiled all of the state tax increases enacted under Democrat governors since 2011, Gov. O’Malley was the second biggest tax hiker, having raised taxes on Maryland residents by over 3 billion since 2011, and more than 11 billion since 2008.  The only governor to have raised more taxes was Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, another deep-blue state, who lost his re-election race to Republican Bruce Rauner.   

Delivering a strong message focused on lower taxes and increased economic freedom seems to have resonated with voters – even in traditionally blue states – during the 2014 election cycle.  Low-tax, limited-government Republicans defeated entrenched liberal Democrats in traditionally blue states like Massachusetts, Maine, and Illinois. Meanwhile Republican governors Sam Brownback of Kansas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin won re-election in their respective states after engaging in tax reform during their first terms.  November 4 was a good night for Maryland taxpayers as well as taxpayers across the country.