In a state where Democrats have long dominated politics, Republican businessman Larry Hogan exceeded all expectations by defeating Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown for the Maryland governorship.
Almost every poll leading up to the election gave Brown a substantial lead, but Hogan bested Brown on Election Day with a commanding 9-point victory, becoming only the second Republican to be elected governor since 1966.
The national political environment in Tuesday's election was extremely unfriendly to Democrats, and it turns out that most polls nationwide overestimated the standing of Democratic candidates.
But Governor Martin O'Malley trounced his opponent Bob Ehrlich under similar circumstances in 2010. And other Democrats running statewide in Maryland, Brian Frosh for Attorney General and Peter Franchot for Comptroller, cruised to easy victories.
Instead, this upset was likely the result of an extremely poor campaign from the Brown team. Brown failed to articulate a positive vision for the state, opting instead to hammer Hogan with negative ads that rang hollow to voters.
Hogan, by contrast, zeroed in on voters' anxieties surrounding taxes and the economy, while managing to avoid offending the state's left-leaning voters.
Republicans capitalized on the 2014 wave to win several seats in Maryland's legislature, but Democrats still hold strong majorities in both the House of Delegates and the State Senate. Hogan has pledged to work with Democrats in the legislature to improve the state's financial standing and business climate. How Hogan will govern in the context of divided government remains to be seen.
Did you vote in the Maryland gubernatorial contest? Does Hogan's election signal a change in direction for deep-blue Maryland? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.