A huge upset in my own backyard

Less than two weeks ago, I went to Italy firmly convinced that Maryland Democrat Anthony Brown, our Lieutenant Governor, would defeat Larry Hogan in the Maryland gubernatorial race. When I returned two days ago, I found that Hogan had drawn just about even with Brown in the polls.

Yet, I couldn’t convince myself that Hogan would win. Maryland is, after all, about as Blue any state in the nation. Thus, even though Brown’s only real claim to fame was setting up Maryland’s health exchange — the most scandalously bad such exchange in the nation, other than Oregon’s — I felt pretty sure that Brown would prevail.

But he didn’t. With nearly 80 percent of the expected vote counted, Hogan leads by 6 points and has been declared the victor.

Although Brown proved to be a poor candidate, his defeat doesn’t bode well for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s presidential ambitions. A credible presidential candidate shouldn’t see his Lieutenant Governor lose in a state as Blue as Maryland.

The Republican victory in the Senate is the big story of the night, given its consequences. But Republicans were expected to take the Senate. GOP victories in gubernatorial races Democrats were expected to win is quite a story itself.

UPDATE: Based on reader feedback, I’m going to amend my statement that the Maryland exchange, as established by Brown, was the second worst in the nation. Let’s just say it was epically bad.

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