Former NAACP President Ben Jealous won the right to face Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) in November in a significant win for national progressives hoping to steer Democrats to the left.
The Associated Press called the race for Jealous at 10:36 p.m. EDT. His major Democratic challenger was Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker, seen as a more pragmatic but no less liberal contender.
In his first run for public office, Jealous cast himself as the most liberal candidate in the field, touting endorsements from national figures like Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden says expanding Medicare to include hearing, dental and vision a 'reach' Schumer endorses democratic socialist India Walton in Buffalo mayor's race On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants MORE (I-Vt.) and Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia Biden, Harris mark 10th anniversary of MLK memorial Watch live: Biden, Harris deliver remarks at MLK Jr. Memorial anniversary MORE (D-Calif.) and boasting of 1,000 volunteers who deployed across the state in the final weekend before voters went to the polls.
Baker, on the other hand, brought a firmer political base to the table, as the chief executive of the state's second-largest county. He earned support from local leaders like Sen. Chris Van HollenChristopher (Chris) Van HollenGOP tries to take filibuster pressure off Manchin, Sinema Overnight Energy & Environment — Biden set to restore national monuments rolled back by Trump Markey: Senate must pass reconciliation package before global climate summit MORE (D), House Minority Whip Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerPowerful Democrats push back on one-year extension of child tax credit The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Uber - Democrats optimistic after Biden meetings House to vote Thursday on holding Bannon in contempt MORE (D) and former Gov. Martin O'Malley (D).
Reflecting Maryland's two major vote centers, both front-runners chose running mates who hail from the other half of the state.
Jealous, who is from Baltimore, chose Susan Turnbull, a former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee from Montgomery County, the Washington suburb. Baker chose Elizabeth Embry, a state's attorney who ran for mayor of Baltimore in 2016.
Jealous will face a seriously difficult fight against Hogan, one of the most popular governors in the nation, according to public surveys. A Gonzales Research and Media Services poll from earlier this month found that Hogan's job approval stood at 75 percent, while just 17 percent said they disapproved of him.
The poll found Hogan leading Jealous 51 percent to 34 percent.
But all is not lost for the Democratic contender, especially if President TrumpDonald TrumpHarris stumps for McAuliffe in Virginia On The Money — Sussing out what Sinema wants Hillicon Valley — Presented by Xerox — The Facebook Oversight Board is not pleased MORE remains deeply unpopular come November. Trump's approval rating stands at just 37 percent in heavily-Democratic Maryland. The last time a Republican president was so unpopular, then-Gov. Bob Ehrlich (R) lost his job in 2006 to his one-time underdog challenger, O'Malley.