Ben Jealous looking to unseat Governor Larry Hogan

Posted at 6:39 PM, Oct 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-25 19:00:14-04

No Republican governor has been re-elected in heavily Democratic Maryland since Theodore Mckeldin back in the 1950's.

Governor Larry Hogan's supporters can change that. An upset victory by Ben Jealous would also be historic. He would be the first African-American governor in Maryland history.

With early voting underway, a chance for both candidates at the top of their ticket, to make their closing arguments.

They both sat down with WMAR-2 News' Christian Schaffer.

Governor Larry Hogan said, "I've worked to govern right down the middle, reach across the aisle, work with everybody regardless of political affiliation and I think most people appreciate that."  

Democratic challenger, Ben Jealous said, "It's always been uphill. we're taking on an incumbent, but there's an urgency to our campaign"

For most of the last four years, Larry Hogan has been one of the most popular governors in the country, with an approval rating hovering near 70 percent.

Unbeatable? Democrat Ben Jealous doesn't think so. He says the governor has been the beneficiary of the country's recovery, from the 2009 collapse of the economic system.

"Hogan taking responsibility for our economy being a bit better than it was at the end of the recession is like taking credit for the sun rising."

In addition to serving as a former head of the National NAACP, Jealous has been a venture capitalist.. He says he has a better plan than Hogan, for growing small businesses into big ones.

"The only way to really grow an economy is to have a plan, and Hogan has never had a plan." 

Hogan says cutting taxes and fees early in his administration has boosted the state's economy.

Maryland voters seem to have responded. Statewide polls have given him a lead over Jealous of anywhere from 18 to 22 percentage points.

Hogan responded to the numbers, "I'm not taking anything for granted. I'm running like I'm 20 points down, and I'm working hard every single day to make sure. The only poll the matters is the one on election day.

Two years ago, Hogan voted for his father for president.. not Donald Trump.

That, plus his popularity - leading some pundits to wonder what might be next if he is reelected. 

"I haven't given any thought whatsoever to that. I mean I've heard people talk like that but I wasn't one of them."

And whether he might even *challenge the president, in a Republican primary in the lead-up to the 2020 election: "God willing i'm going to be here another four years, hopefully, I'm feeling pretty healthy and should be able to make it through another four-year term."

Governor Hogan has been chosen to serve as the chairman of the National Governor's Association, starting in July of next year.

He says he's looking forward to the opportunity to discuss pressing issues with other governors.

It would also give him the opportunity for some more national exposure; that is, if he is reelected on November 6th.