POLITICS

Maryland Election Results 2010: Martin O'Malley wins another term as Maryland governor

Bucking what is anticipated to be a national Republican trend, Democrat Martin O’Malley has won a second term as Maryland governor Tuesday night, handily dispatching longtime rival Bob Ehrlich.

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Martin O'Malley wins the Maryland governorship

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"The people of Maryland once again decided that together we move forward," O'Malley said late Tuesday night.

With only a small percentage of precincts reporting, the Associated Press confirmed what exit polls had indicated, and O'Malley was winning with almost 55 percent of the vote just after 9:30 p.m.

"Tonight is at an end," Ehrlich said in a speech delivered minutes after O'Malley spoke. "And we wish (O’Malley) well and the state well. And we wish him well, and we congratulate him."

O'Malley thanked his family, his supporters and the Maryland residents who didn't cast a ballot for him.

"In these difficult times, there will be public policy issues that we disagree about," O'Malley said. "And that's natural."

Election Day in Maryland was marred by accusations of shenanigans. The O'Malley campaign said Tuesday that voters had received robocalls telling them that O'Malley had been successful and voters could stay at home.

It capped off a race marked by deep personal animosity between the two leading candidates. Ehrlich was never able to seize momentum from the incumbent, who used a huge early fundraising advantage to bombard the Baltimore and D.C. markets with ads portraying Ehrlich as a lobbyist in the pocket of big business while touting his own achievements in public safety and education.

"For us, this closes a chapter. It's not sad," Ehrlich said. "Please believe me, it's not sad. You win you lose, and that's the game of life. It's certainly the game of politics in this state."

For his part, O’Malley ran a detailed and disciplined campaign, employing his relationship with President Barack Obama to increase turnout in the state’s most populated, liberal and black areas — Baltimore City and the Washington suburbs. By racking up huge margins there, O’Malley was able to overcome Ehrlich’s advantages in the Baltimore suburbs and the rural edges of the state.

“We’ll deliver Montgomery County and Prince George’s County,” Jos Williams, the president of the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO pledged to O’Malley at a campaign event earlier in the campaign. “The western half of the state can do what the hell it wants.”

The Democrat’s victory means the state’s dominant party will have control over the redistricting process that will begin next year, and solidifies the status of Ehrlich’s four-year term as a historical footnote rather the start of a Republican revival in the Free State.

With the party’s standard-bearer and most successful candidate in generations perhaps ready to end his political career, Maryland Republicans are somewhat adrift at a time when many of their compatriots are celebrating.

O’Malley won’t have much time to celebrate, however. There’s a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. In the longer term, the state is projecting billion dollar deficits for the next several years and also has major problems with public pensions.

"This is a very, very humbling honor," O'Malley said. "We are going to have a lot of tough days still ahead of us ... but we are coming back."

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