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September 21, 2019, 01:47:08 am
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  Why was the 1978 MD-Gov race such a landslide Dem victory?
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Author Topic: Why was the 1978 MD-Gov race such a landslide Dem victory?  (Read 195 times)
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« on: April 13, 2019, 06:46:40 pm »

https://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/state.php?fips=24&year=1978&f=0&off=5&elect=0

In the 1978 election for Maryland governor, an open seat, state Secretary of Transportation Harry Hughes (D) defeated former US Senator John Glenn Beall (R) in a 71-29 wipeout.

Hughes won all of Maryland's counties except far western Garrett and Alleghany counties.

Beall's 29.02% share of the vote was disastrously low.

Why did he do so badly? Consider that...

(1) The race was to succeed the disgraced Democratic governor Marvin Mandel, who was in federal prison on racketeering charges, with his duties being tended to by the lieutenant governor in an acting capacity. And Hughes had been a member of Mandel's cabinet.

(2) 1978 wasn't an especially good year for Democrats overall.

(3) Beall had won a statewide race in Maryland before, to the US Senate in 1970. He wasn't an obscure gadfly candidate.

Even if the structural Democratic advantage in Maryland favored Hughes winning the election, it's hard to see how he did so well given the circumstances.
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