Dave Weigel posted an excellent piece this morning explaining one of the red herrings from the ’14 election results – victories by Republican Gubernatorial candidates in solidly blue states. He focuses in on Larry Hogan’s win in Maryland, but the same analysis works for Illinois and Massachusetts.
Hogan’s win does nothing to open up new opportunities at the Federal level. Weigel explains:
Hogan was able to run as a candidate who cared nothing about social issues, a reformer who’d undo some of outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley’s most hated taxes. Any Republican running for Senate in Maryland will be asking—probably—for a chance to Change Washington. Functionally, he’d be asking a Democratic-leaning electorate to help him join Mitch McConnell’s Senate.
The case gets even more persuasive with a look at the numbers. The apathy of an off-year electorate was critical to Hogan’s success.
884,400: The number of votes won by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in his upset 2014 win over former Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.
51 percent to 47 percent: Hogan’s margin of victory over Brown.
971,869: The number of votes won by Mitt Romney in Maryland in the 2012 presidential race.
62 percent to 36 percent: President Barack Obama’s victory margin over Romney.
The Blue Wall is solid. The only thing that will dent it is a major shift in Republican politics away from religious fundamentalism and toward urban concerns. Neither of those trends is apparent anywhere at this point.