Author Wes Moore projected to become Maryland’s first black governor


Democrat Wesmore, a writer and former nonprofit head, defeated far-right Republican Dan Cox to become Maryland’s first black elected governor on Tuesday, the Associated Press projected on Tuesday.

Moore, 44, delivered a major victory for Democrats in the party’s difficult national election cycle, retaking the governor’s mansion after eight years of Republican rule, vowing to “leave no one behind” The message resonated in a diverse state where people of color have recently become a majority.

“I haven’t forgotten that I made some history here tonight. But I also know I’m not the first to try,” Moore told supporters. “I’m honored to be a part of that legacy…it’s not why we’re in this race. History means the most to me and we are the history we — and the people of this state — will make over the next four years. “

The son of Jamaican immigrants raised by a single mother, Moore became the third black man in U.S. history to be elected governor — after Deval Patrick of Massachusetts and Douglas Wilder of Virginia.

A political rookie, Moore influenced Maryland voters with charisma and optimism, and is seen as a rising star in a new generation of Democratic leaders.

Moore burst into cheers at a victory party in Baltimore as the game began, with Kool & the Gang’s “Celebration” playing on loudspeakers. Meanwhile, in the ballroom of the Annapolis hotel, Cox supporters stared at TVs showing the Associated Press announcing the game.

With Democrats holding a 2-1 advantage in voter registration and voters leaning toward moderate, a Democratic victory seemed inevitable after Cox’s Republican nomination. Polls show Moore leading by nearly 30 points less than six weeks before Election Day.

Cox did the right thing by failing to build a bipartisan coalition to elevate Republican governors. Larry Hogan, popular and limited-term incumbent. Hogan denied that Cox was ineligible.

Cox has capitalized on conservative grievances over the coronavirus mandate to emphasize parental rights in schools and to keep in touch with former President Donald Trump, who is deeply unpopular in Maryland.

Moore, closely following messages of inclusion and progress, said during the campaign, “We leave no one behind. This is more than a mantra, it’s a value statement. It’s more than a value statement. Come January, it will be A new mission for this state.”

Moore’s running mate, former state legislator Aruna Miller, will The state’s first immigrant and first woman of color to serve as lieutenant governor. The list of breaking barriers also includes the U.S. House of Representatives. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.), who would become the first black attorney general, and Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City) was the first woman to serve as auditor general.

“With Moore, it’s invisible. He feels trustworthy,” Alfonso Sasieta, a 30-year-old former middle school teacher, said on Tuesday in Hyattsville. He said he was excited to see Moore’s future. “I think as a black man with some life experience, that would give him a solid understanding of what the policy would look like.”

Sarah Holley, 75, turned up at a polling place Tuesday from the neighborhood of Thurgood Marshall’s childhood home in West Baltimore and voted for Moore, which is A blue pin with “WES” emblazoned on her hat.

“It’s a real sign of progress in what we can do as a nation,” said Hawley, a retired publicist who is black.

At another polling station in Baltimore, a black woman held Moore’s hand in prayer with him before he jumped back into a blue and yellow campaign bus.

During the campaign, Moore publicly redirected the topic of “firsts,” offering his response at an event with Hillary Clinton last month: “The burden of making history is really on us, and it’s overwhelming. Humility. But that’s not the mission.”

Moore built a statewide coalition around issues such as reducing crime, increasing economic opportunity and ending child poverty — goals he set ambitious policies for, at no cost. When asked for details, he would point to the state’s multibillion-dollar surplus as a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to change state government.

Moore also raised topics often monopolized by Republicans, championing patriotism and advocating for a reduction in estate taxes.

“Wes boldly represented the future of Maryland. He was savvy in business; he was a veteran who took real risks on behalf of our country in battle, and he was also darker than anyone ever before,” the former National Colored Ethnic Advancement President Ben Jealous said he lost his run for governor in 2018.

As a former investment banker, Johns Hopkins football player and graduate, Rhodes scholar, Army paratrooper and Afghan officer, and a White House fellow who led the Robin Hood Foundation, the country’s largest poverty-relief nonprofit, Moore has attracted many A star-studded list. supporter. His fundraiser has headlined Oprah Winfrey and Spike Lee, a campaign ad shot with former President Barack Obama, and multiple rallies with President Biden.

His nearly two-year campaign has centered on his personal story of facing adversity, detailed in his best-selling book “The Other Wesmore,” which began when his father came before him when he was 3 years old due to a misdiagnosis died. His difficult teenage years were honed by the military academy his mother sent him to escape the Bronx. He now lives in Baltimore with his wife Dawn, a military veteran. Maryland politics, and their two children: Mia, 11, and James, 9.

Moore’s political ambitions took decades to realize.

“Every time I go back to New York,” Moore told the Palm Beach Post in 1998, “I see my old neighborhood deteriorating and I ask myself, ‘What can I do about it?’ Politics is where power takes action. .”

He broke through a crowded main field that included well-known political heavyweights to compete with Cox, a freshman state representative and father of 10 Fredericks, who passed Hokage in one fell swoop Root’s handpicked moderate Republican successor.

Cox said he thought the 2020 election was “stolen,” encouraged by Trump’s support and mocked by Hogan as a “wacky job” that didn’t deserve support. (Cox sued and tried unsuccessfully to impeach Hogan.)

“Wes is very qualified … but Cox has been a real blessing to Wes,” said Alvin Thornton, retired political science chair at Howard University.

Despite a Trump fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago last month, Cox’s campaign has never raised more than a tenth of Moore’s nearly $16 million resource. In a state where Republican leaders have won by attracting independents and moderates, Cox has stuck to his conservative values. He focused his message on vaccine mandates, school curricula for discussing gender identity and the “liberty” of the income tax that forms the backbone of the state’s income.

Carl Snowden, a longtime civil rights activist in Anne Arundel County, said Moore was “honored to have Dan Cox as his opponent.” “Especially because so many people, including African-Americans, People who are happy with Hogan. “

Outside Wheaton High School, 42-year-old plumber Charles Williams was among black voters who thought Hogan was “cool.”

But when voting for a Republican successor, Williams said Cox didn’t have much traction, so he backed Moore, saying he was “serving the people.”

“It doesn’t matter to me Republicans, Democrats, it matters who gets the job done,” Williams said.

Cox has repeatedly declined to say whether he will accept the election results, citing concerns about court-approved changes to when mail-in ballots can be opened. The record for a Maryland governor’s victory was set in 1986, when Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer was elected governor with 82 percent of the vote.

Moore’s political connections in Maryland began as an internship with former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, the city’s first black mayor. Schmock recommended Moore as a Rhodes Scholar, and when Moore graduated from Oxford, Schmock suggested working in the private sector to give him credibility when running for office.

“It’s clear to me … that if he understood the private sector, he would have more support from the business community,” Schmock said in a recent interview.

When Moore’s first political campaign finally began, Schmock asked Larry Gibson, a law professor and respected Maryland political organizer, to consider helping. Gibson helped launch the political careers of Schmock and Wayne K. Curry, the first black elected to lead Prince George’s County. Earlier this year, Gibson became a senior advisor and a regular during the primaries, attending events and posting campaign signs in remote parts of the state.

This spring, Gibson said he climbed the steps and knocked on Moore’s door for his 80th birthday.

Moore also sought advice from a giant among black political leaders in America: former Massachusetts Gov. Patrick who encouraged him to express his vision to all voters, not just Democrats.

“I know what an incredible talent Wes is. I know his generational sense of responsibility that we’re here to leave something better for those who are left behind, but not everyone will know that unless he explains it,” Patrick said. to his advice to Moore.

Much of their conversation, Moore said, was less about his possibility of making history and more about how to get elected and govern effectively.

“He doesn’t tell me not to appreciate what we’re doing that hasn’t been done before,” Moore said in an interview in mid-October. But “that thing will quickly disappear from the conversation. What will stick is: What kind of governor is he?”

Moore’s victory follows Maryland’s complex racial history.

Maryland never left the Confederacy, but it was a slave state with Confederate supporters, and generations after the Civil War paid homage to figures such as the infamous author Scott The ruling declared that black people were inherently unfit for citizenship. One of those regulations remained in the state capitol until five years ago.

Richard W. Thomas Jr., 80, proudly displayed “I Vote” on his bright orange sweatshirt as he shuffled out of the Silver Spring municipal building on Tuesday stickers.

Thomas, who is Black, said he remembered a time when “we couldn’t vote” and was ready to wait the necessary time to vote for Moore. He came first.

One race he entered this year was a gubernatorial race.

“Wesmore is my man,” he said.

While campaigning in Prince George’s County this fall, Moore spoke directly about the state’s legacy.

“This is Harriet Tubman’s state, this is Frederick Douglass’s state, this is Thurgood Marshall’s state,” he said.

“This is the building we will be sworn in, the State Capitol, it was built by the hands of slaves. The pier, the Annapolis Pier, a short walk from the State Capitol, is the largest slave building in the history of the country One of the piers. I know the history of this state,” he said. “We’re going to accomplish something that people before us never thought were possible. They hoped. They dreamed. They fought. But we have a unique opportunity to do something.”

Lauren Rumpkin, Lathia Beacham, Ian Duncan, Shiwesa Surendran, Joe Heim and Steve Thompson contributed to this report.

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