As was generally predicted, Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler lost his bid to be the next Maryland governor to Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the Democratic primary on June 24, leading third place finisher Del. Heather Mizeur (D-Montgomery) but losing to Brown by a wider than expected margin – 24 percent compared to Brown’s 50 percent and Mizeur’s 22 percent.
“If today’s voting and turnout shows anything, it is that people are very frustrated in our state,” Gansler told the 100 or so supporters who had gathered inside a ballroom of the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. “The middle class is being squeezed by taxes going up and getting less from a government that is supposed to work for them.”
Calling himself a fighter, Gansler conceded that he had lost this bout: “We fell short today, not from a lack of hard work or conviction or dedication. We worked hard, you all worked hard. “But tomorrow we wake up, we shake off the dust and we each do what we can to help others build a better life here in Maryland. That’s our mission, that’s our cause and that’s our fight.”
Gansler was warmly received by the crowd of 100 or so supporters gathered around the stage, who remained mostly upbeat despite their candidate’s loss.
Democratic Party precinct chairman, Ed Levy of Silver Spring, told Washington Jewish Week he believes Gansler’s loss was caused by the Democratic Party’s support turning to Brown in the wake of the governor’s endorsement.
Levy said that he supported Gansler because he has seen him run state government offices “effectively and efficiently.”
Although upset by Gansler’s loss, Levy called the prospective election of Maryland’s first African-American governor a positive milestone and said he will have no problem supporting Brown in the general election.
Right up until the Associated Press called the election for Brown around 9:30 p.m., Gansler supporters at the election watch party were hopeful that he would pull through, even though they knew the odds were slim.
Many of those supported cited Gansler’s record as attorney general as the main reason for their support, saying they believed he was the best person to stand up to powerful special interests.
“I like his willingness to take on the corporations,” said David Frank, a resident of Silver Spring. “I do believe he has the best interest of the little man at heart.”
As to why he chose Gansler over Brown, Frank said “I think [Brown] blew it with Obamacare,” citing the criticism mentioned by nearly everyone in the room of Maryland’s botched Affordable Care Act website rollout.
“It shows a lack of organization,” said Frank.
Gansler, who is Jewish and grew up in Montgomery County, said in an interview earlier on Election Day that he has a long-time connection to the Jewish community. “We need a candidate who knows Baltimore and knows the Jewish community. I’ve been doing this for 22 years. That’s the difference between me and the other candidates. I have a record.”
Gansler was widely criticized for his undisciplined quips on the campaign trail, sometimes appearing to say the wrong thing at the wrong time, even if he meant it as a joke or compliment.
Supported Brad Dockser of Bethesda conceded that Gansler could be “unfiltered and rough around the edges,” but said he preferred a candidate who speaks his mind to the usual polished politician.
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Simone Ellin contributed to this story.