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The Washington Post Endorses Larry Hogan for Governor

“Having campaigned in 2014 on a platform by turns vague, glib and pie-in-sky, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan shifted gears and struck a clear and bracing note on the day he took office, promising in his inaugural address to surmount partisanship and wedge politics in favor of what he called a bipartisan politics of ‘middle temperament. That was January 2015, before anyone foresaw the rise of Donald Trump. To his immense credit, Mr. Hogan, a Republican in a state where Democrats enjoy a 2-to-1 advantage, has largely fulfilled that pledge, rejecting what he called ‘the extremes of either political party’ and taking a pragmatic, centrist approach to leadership that has been a tonic in a venomous era. …

“We didn’t support him when he ran for governor in 2014. We do now. Mr. Hogan deserves a second term.

“The trouble is, much of [Jealous’] program is politically unrealistic, and some is unwise. By soaking the rich, who are concentrated in Montgomery County, Maryland’s most populous locality, he would drive some to move across the river to Virginia; that would hurt poor residents by shrinking the revenue base on which the county’s public schools and services depend. His single-payer health-care plan, under which the state would pay nearly all medical bills, proved unaffordable in Vermont even before it could be implemented. …

“He campaigned as a skeptic on mass transit, appealing to Republican voters who prefer roads to rail. In office, he changed his tune to support two critical projects: the light-rail Purple Line in the Washington suburbs, which he’d once dismissed as unaffordable; and Metro, for which the governor’s surprise backing for a long-term funding source was a catalyst for a regional deal with Virginia and the District of Columbia that will yield $500 million annually in earmarked new revenue.

“Mr. Hogan’s critics dismiss those moves, and others, as political opportunism — a Republican’s gyrations to curry Democratic support. That’s one way to see things. Another is that the governor has had the agility and sense to govern as a moderate — that disappearing breed of American politician — and that it took guts for him to back the Purple Line and Metro, commitments that will cost billions of dollars. …

“Residents of the state tell pollsters overwhelmingly they think it is headed in the right direction. Mr. Hogan doesn’t deserve all the credit for that — he has the good fortune to lead during boom times — but he is clearly part of the good news. In polarized times, he has stuck to the political middle, from where he has fashioned agreements that will benefit millions of Marylanders. That’s no easy feat.”

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