BALTIMORE (WJZ) — With just hours left to vote, both Gov. Hogan and Democratic challenger Ben Jealous are not ceasing in their efforts to get out their messages, and votes for their campaigns.
Both vigorously campaigned throughout the weekend, focusing on the battleground Baltimore region.
Gov. Hogan started Election Day early with a traditional gubernatorial trip to Annapolis deli Chick and Ruth’s where he gave voters some advice.
“I just say don’t take anything for granted because the polls don’t really mean much. It’s about who shows up and actually votes and we’re telling them not to act like we’re 20 points up, act like we’re 20 points down,” Hogan said.
Hogan has maintained a lead in those polls, despite the 2:1 ratio of Democrats to Republicans in the state. He said what he hears from Democrat voters is encouraging.
“People seem to be happy with the direction the state is moving in and they don’t want to change course,” Hogan said.
In 2014, Hogan failed to gain traction in Baltimore. This year he put a campaign headquarters in Station North and he also featured Democrats in his campaign ads.
“I hear over and over every day ‘I’m a lifelong Democrat, I’ve never voted for a Republican before but I’m voting for you,'” Hogan said.
Although he appeared to maintain an even tone Tuesday morning, Hogan said he is ready for a victory celebration Tuesday night.
“Hopefully it’s going to look wild. Hopefully, it’s going to be very exciting,” Hogan said.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidate for governor Ben Jealous had his kids by his side as he cast his ballot Tuesday.
Jealous left a Randallstown location at around 6 p.m. after making stops in Anne Arundel, Prince George’s and Montgomery County throughout Election Day.
Jealous seemed optimistic about his chances of unseating a popular governor. He pointed out the fact that turnout is up, and in a historically blue state, he’s hoping that’s good news for Democrats.
“It’s good. If you look inside, the voting booth is full, folks are in line. What we are hearing from Baltimore City down here to Montgomery County, all across the state is that folks are enthusiastic to vote,” Jealous said Tuesday.
Some of those voters are educators, who had the Baltimore City school system on their minds.
“I’m a retired special education teacher and I understand that he is trying to do more for the public school system,” said Linda Waller, a Baltimore voter.
“I think Ben Jealous has his priorities in the right spot,” said Corey Matlak, another Baltimore voter.
The former president of the NAACP is competing for votes against a governor with high approval ratings.
Polls have had Jealous trialing Gov. Hogan by double digits, but Jealous said pollsters have been wrong before.
“The numbers are way up, and that makes us very excited, we said from the very beginning we only have one strategy to win and that’s to turn out more voters than the other side, and so far we saw it with absentee balloting, we saw it with early voting, voting is up everywhere but Democrats are way up,” Jealous said.
“Mr. Jealous has got great credentials and I think if we didn’t have a good Governor right now, he would be a good governor,” said Rex McGehee, Baltimore voter.
On this final stretch, it isn’t just about his opponent, Gov. Larry Hoan, Jealous said he wants to closely tie local issues to national politics.
“What better way to send a message to Donald Trump and his White House than to send a civil rights leader to be your next governor,” Jealous said.