On a night that saw Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. become the first GOP governor since the Korean War to win a second term, two Democrats who also serve statewide — Attorney General Brian E. Frosh and Comptroller Peter V. R. Franchot — romped to victory.
Frosh won a second term by defeating former Allegany County prosecutor Craig Wolf (R), 64 percent to 36 percent.
The former head of a liquor and wine wholesalers association in Washington, D.C., Wolf ran a spirited campaign, hitting Frosh repeatedly for his frequent legal battles with the Trump administration and what he called the “epidemic” of street crime in Baltimore City.
But the challenger suffered from low name ID and a lack of funding, and he wasn’t able to lure the incumbent into televised debates. Frosh, by contrast, had more than a million dollars in his campaign war chest, which he used on a TV and radio ad blitz during the closing weeks of the campaign to highlight his record on a range of issues, including health care and consumer protection.
Frosh’s name is likely to remain in the news. Despite Wolf’s criticism, and the occasional jab from Hogan, with whom he was sparred, the attorney general continues his battles with the Trump administration over environmental policies, emoluments, and other issues.
Franchot cruised to a fourth term by handily dispatching with accountant Anjali Phukan (R), 72 percent to 28 percent. Although he has feuded openly with Democratic legislative leaders, Franchot, a close ally of Hogan, racked up nearly 1.5 million votes, more than any other statewide candidate in Maryland.
In the last year’s legislative session, he was at the center of high-profile battles over school construction funding and alcohol sales, among others.
There is every indication Franchot will continue to chart an independent path over the next four years, driving some members of the General Assembly batty in the process. He and Hogan, who scored a convincing win on Tuesday, dominate the three-member Board of Public Works, which oversees state contracts and other matters.