Somewhere in heaven, LBJ is tipping his Stetson to Joe Biden.
Former President Lyndon Johnson, who won his first election for U.S. Senate by eking out an 87-vote victory in the Democratic primary, always appreciated a good old political thumping. And Biden delivered one to President Trump in Maryland on Tuesday, even as the overall national count in the presidential election remained a cliffhanger early Wednesday morning.
Just about the only mystery surrounding the presidential vote in Maryland this year was whether Biden, the former vice president, would exceed Johnson’s 1964 victory margin when he carried Maryland over Republican Barry Goldwater by almost 31 points.
The Associated Press and TV networks called Maryland for Biden just after 8 p.m. ― more than two hours before a single vote was posted on the State Board of Elections website.
As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, Biden’s margin over President Trump was just shy of 29 points ― pending a count of outstanding mail-in and provisional ballots.
Biden racked up 63.3% of the statewide vote, compared to 34.5% for Trump. Biden’s margin exceeded Hillary Clinton’s 26-point victory in Maryland in 2016 ― which was roughly the same margin President Obama won here in 2008 and 2012.
Even with the outcome never in doubt, Tuesday’s presidential vote in Maryland did produce some interesting results. While Clinton carried six Maryland jurisdictions in 2016 ― Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Charles, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties ― Biden appears to have done better. As of 2 a.m. he had added Frederick County to his win list, and was running close ― though unlikely to win ― in Calvert and Wicomico counties as well.
When Clinton took Anne Arundel County in 2016, it was the first time a Democratic presidential nominee had won there since John F. Kennedy in 1960. Clinton’s narrow victory was a precursor to a surge in Democratic energy and turnout in the formerly Republican-leaning county.
Could Biden’s fairly substantial victory in Anne Arundel ― by about 28,000 votes ― presage more Democratic success in the now-purple county? Frederick County is also trending blue, and the presidential result confirms that.