Upstart political candidate Wes Moore made history Tuesday night after he was elected governor of Maryland in a likely landslide victory over Republican nominee Dan Cox.
Aside from winning the election to become Maryland’s 63rd governor, the combat veteran and former CEO is set to be sworn in as Maryland’s first Black governor and just the third Black person ever elected governor in U.S. history. (Even though there have been four Black governors in U.S. history, only Duval Patrick in Massachusetts and L. Douglas Wilder in Virginia have ever been elected to the position. The most recent Black governor was David Paterson, who was serving as New York lieutenant governor when then Gov. Eliot Spitzer resigned over a prostitution scandal.)
Moore ran on a campaign that prioritized the economy, healthcare, education and climate among other issues of importance that clearly resonated with voters.
The most recent poll placed Moore at a 30 percentage point advantage over Cox. However, Moore said he was;’t taking anything for granted and was out stumping for votes throughout Election Day.
“The only poll that matters is going to be the poll on Election Day,” Moore told CBS Baltimore on Tuesday. “No one can take this election for granted. I want people to come out. Make your voice heard because we are going to run this race like we are 10 points behind because that’s what this moment requires and deserves.”
Moore secured the Democratic nominee for governor back in June, beating out the likes of people with greater political name recognition like Tom Perez, the former U.S. Department of Labor secretary under former President Barack Obama and former Democratic National Committee chairman.
Despite winning the Republican nomination, Cox’s fate was all but sealed as evidenced by his recent visit to Morgan State University, Maryland’s largest historically Black college. The sparsely attended event at the Baltimore campus provided a glimpse into Cox’s electoral future as he side-stepped all of the issues his audience wanted to discuss — women’s reproductive rights, public health, HBCU funding and his involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots — and instead decided to tell Black people in a Black space what subject matter they should be prioritizing.
Prior to his entrance into politics, then-social entrepreneur and author Moore famously launched The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund with actress Kerry Washington in 2020 amid the unrest stemming following harrowing incidents of police brutality. The fund is designed to support activists and grassroots organizations on the frontlines fighting against injustice.
“The Black Voices for Black Justice Fund recognizes and supports the incredible work that’s being done by everyday heroes at the grassroots level,” Moore said in a statement at the time. “In order for our communities to exceed the level of greatness we all aspire to, these voices must be elevated, supported and heard.”
That is the kind of governor Maryland will be getting.