11/08/2018

Why Larry Hogan Keeps Winning In Deep-Blue Maryland

Christopher B. Summers, National Review

Competence, tax reduction, and regulation reform are a winning agenda for him.

Not since Dwight Eisenhower roamed the White House had a Republican been reelected governor in Maryland — until this past Tuesday, when Governor Larry Hogan won decisively in one of America’s bluest states. In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2 to 1, Hogan dispensed with the Democratic nominee, former NAACP president Benjamin Jealous. The unofficial tally so far is 56 to 43 percent.

Hogan, a former-real estate CEO, overcame much in his first four years in Annapolis: an aggressively liberal legislature, anti-Trump fervor among base Democrats, and historic riots in Baltimore — not to mention his own successful battle with late-stage cancer six months into the start of his first term.

How did he do it?

First, he spent his political capital on fights he could win. Democrats enjoyed veto-proof majorities in the state legislature, and myriad traps awaited him in the legislative process. He bypassed prolonged legislative battles and instead attacked the administrative state where it most grated on taxpayers. He lowered tolls at Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Bridge and cut fees on commuters’ E-Z Pass devices, saving long-suffering commuters more than $1 billion.

He challenged Democrats in the General Assembly when he knew he could win. His first and arguably most popular legislative victory was repeal of the so-called rain tax, the inexplicable measure championed by former governor Martin O’Malley. The state taxed real-estate owners for pollution in stormwater drainage, to meet EPA standards

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