Biden May Fall Short of LBJ’s Historic Margin in Md., With No Winner Declared Yet

No winner has been declared in the race between President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden ― though Biden has carried Maryland handily. Getty photos by Chip Somodevilla and Mark Makela.

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.

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Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.