hogan2 (1)

Republicans in Maryland are partying today like it’s 2002, after businessman Larry Hogan beat Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown by a 51.5% to 46.8% margin and in the process becoming the first Republican to hold that office since Bob Ehrlich won a dozen years ago.

Hogan ran a smart campaign by focusing on jobs, taxes and the state of the Maryland economy, reminding voters that the O’Malley-Brown administration was responsible for over 40 tax increases during the last eight years and that i was time for a change which fit perfectly with his Change Maryland group which he started several years ago and served as the base for his campaign launch.

This election was much like 2002 when Ehrlich, ran against Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend- who added her maiden name in an effort to try and woo voters who liked the Kennedy clan, but who was a very weak candidate much like Anthony Brown was this year.

Brown was handicapped by the tax and spend record of the Democrats and failed miserably in trying to spark any enthusiasm from the Democratic base.

Even so, the race was Browns to lose with a 2-1 registration advantage that should have all but guaranteed him a victory.

Instead he stumbled much like Townsend did by losing counties that O’Malley had either won or was competitive in his two victories.

Here were the keys to Hogan’s victory;

Baltimore County – won by 52,000 votes which is comparable to Ehrlich’s 64,000 vote margin in 2002.  In 2006 the margin was just 8,000 votes and in 2010 he lost by 1,000 votes.

Howard County- won by 5,000 votes.  Ehrlich’s margin of victory  in 2002 was 10,000, but lost Howard by less than 700 votes in 2006 and 10,000 in 2010.

Montgomery County- lost by 61,000 votes. Ehrlich lost by 67,000 in 2002, but that grew to 78,000 in 2006 and 109,000 in 2010.

By winning Baltimore and Howard and reducing the deficit in Montgomery, Hogan robbed Brown of the votes he needed to offset the traditional Republican strongholds on the Eastern shore and Western Maryland and cleared a path to victory.

Hogan was criticized by some Republicans for spending so much time and money in Montgomery County, where it’s virtually impossible for a Republican to win, but the goal wasn’t to win as much as it was to get 40% of the vote.  Hogan fell short of that with almost 37%, but that was far better than Ehrlich’s 30.5% in 2010 comparable to Ehrlich’s 38% from his winning campaign in 2002.

The Brown campaign may go down as the worst Democratic gubernatorial effort in Maryland history, as he garnered 43,00 fewer votes than Townsend- who was the standard bearer of bad campaigns until yesterday and was a whopping 275,000 votes less than O’Malley received in 2010.  All this while Hogan increased the Republican vote totals by 70,000 and was more than Ehrlich had managed to get in the last two elections.

While winning the governor’s race is a big deal in deep blue Maryland, the reality is that Hogan will be severely limited in what he can accomplish over the next four years as he still faces an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature, but any progress he makes by blocking and  slowing down ruinous Democratic policies will be a victory for all Marylanders.

Maryland exchangeWhile the failures of the federal government’s healthcare website are now legion, individual state exchanges have also had some problems and one of the biggest failures is in Maryland.

Maryland’s exchange was supposed to be a model for then nation, with outgoing Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) hoping to use it as an example of what he accomplished as part of his springboard to a potential 2016 presidential run.  O’Malley was so confident that nothing would go wrong, that he even appointed his Lt. Gov Anthony Brown to oversee the rollout in an effort to assist Brown who hopes to succeed O’Malley as governor in November.

But all has not gone well.  The exchange has been been plagued by numerous problems and a panicked O’Malley has even convinced the Democratically controlled legislature to pass emergency legislation to provide insurance for those that weren’t able to obtain coverage by January 1.  This is expected to cost the state between $5 million to $10 million and is seen by Republican legislators as both a sign of the exchange’s failure as well as an unnecessary expense.

I know these problems are real and heard from a friend of mine yesterday who was very frustrated with her experience in obtaining a new policy.

Here is what she wrote to me;

Yes, I’m one of those who had a great health plan..not through work..our premium was 1203 a month..we were told we could keep it for 2014 ONLY..at 1595 a month..whoa !! same plan ?!? ..sooo I went to md health connection…which was a 6 week endeavor…applied, enrolled in a plan…started calling CareFirst 1/3/14 to find out what was next…between the two i have over 100 hours worth of hold time…even took days off work to get this done..was told there was a glitch in getting my paperwork..then was told they were given the wrong amount..yet, they still telling me i had to pay for January …ummm..January is over…and now February is half way through…last thing i heard they had the wrong amount, also, showing no monthly credit…still waiting…i even faxed them screen shots of the my pages from md health connection website..still nothing..no change..no insurance..its infuriating !!! I’ve been trying to pay for my plan since 1/3/14…its more than scary not having coverage..i did everything the way i was “told” to do it..everything on my end done correctly..yet, I’m stuck..no one to call, no one to get answers from…

She was perfectly happy with her old plan, but couldn’t stomach a 32.5% increase in the premium for the same plan.  An increase that wasn’t uncommon for CareFirst policy  holders, and a direct result of the implementation of Obamacare.  She then went to the Maryland exchange seeking the affordable insurance that President Obama promised only to wind up in a maze of bureaucracy and without insurance.

This type of foul up has marred the O’Malley administration and provided fodder for Brown’s main Democratic challenger Doug Gansler who has been hitting Brown over the failures of the exchange, but has also been forced to walk a tight line so that he doesn’t give the Republicans the edge they desperately need in what has been a one-party state for decades.

My friend isn’t the only victim of Obamacare but could easily serve as a poster child for the failures of the program.