By Glynis Kazanjian, Glynis@MarylandReporter.com
Democrats lined up behind Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown for support as he gave a brief concession speech in College Park after losing to Republican Larry Hogan, Jr. by five percentage points, 51.5% to 46.8%.
Signs that things were not going as Democrats expected surfaced around 10 p.m. when enthusiasm among Browns supporters began to wane and staffers were no longer smiling. The crowd of several hundred shrunk to nearly half by 11:30 p.m., a half hour before Brown went on stage.
At his own event in Annapolis, Hogan said Brown called him and he was gracious and congratulated me.
Tonight we fell short of our goal, Brown told his supporters, but it does not and cannot diminish the work that each and every one of you has done in our communities throughout our state. Brown said to hearty applause. This was a tough campaign because there was a lot at stake and a lot worth fighting for. Governing is difficult, demanding work. Larry and his team have a tough road ahead of them. I wish them the very best as they travel that road.
Brown went on to thank his family and a state and a country that had given his family so much.
Many high profile elected officials were on hand to share the evening with Brown.
U.S. House Minority Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer of Marylands 5th Congressional district described his mood as not happy to reporters when it began to look like Brown was losing.
Ruppersberger: Brown needed to define himself
Second District Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said he thought Brown should have defined himself a little more during the campaign, especially emphasizing his rank as a lieutenant colonel in the military.
I think the reason it is close is because the lieutenant governor was not able to reach the constituents in the Baltimore area and define who he was. Hes a good man, said Ruppersberger. Hogans group ran a good campaign. Their TV ads were good. It showed who [Hogan] was.
Ruppersberger said he wasnt surprised the election was so close or what was going on in the whole country, referring to other races in the mid-term elections.
The people in this country are tired of Democrats and Republicans fighting over issues, Ruppersberger said to a gaggle of reporters. They elect us to do the job to work things out . . . You want to make the United States of America the best country in the world because it is. You dont want to weaken it. I know the American people are angry, disappointed and stressed.
After Browns concession speech, the disappointment among many supporters was evident.
Im too sad to talk, said Tamika Winkler, a Brown-Ulman volunteer. I just want to cry.
Montgomery County Councilman Hans Reimer, who successfully ran for re-election Tuesday, said he wasnt sure a Republican governor would be able to work with the Democrats in the state.
It remains to be seen, he said unenthusiastically.