Maryland’s next governor: ‘It’s clear y’all gave us a mandate’

Bryan P. Sears//November 9, 2022

Maryland’s next governor: ‘It’s clear y’all gave us a mandate’

By Bryan P. Sears

//November 9, 2022

Maryland Gov.-elect Wes Moore speaks to supporters at an election night event in Baltimore, Md., Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Bryan Woolston)

Wes Moore ended election night in transition.

The Democratic nominee was overwhelmingly elected as the 63rd governor of Maryland, becoming the first Black chief executive in the state’s history.

“It’s clear y’all gave us a mandate,” Moore said to supporters at his Baltimore victory party on Tuesday. “That mandate is for a healthier, wealthier Maryland.”


As Moore left the stage, he told those supporters the work would begin in the morning.

The newly minted governor-elect, a Baltimore resident with no previous government experience, has just over two months to organize his government.

For Moore, that mandate includes what he has described as bold moves, including hiring more teachers, expanding pre-kindergarten, creating service years for graduating high school students, balancing the fight against violent crime with better policing efforts, and fulfilling a promise to restore a multibillion-dollar Baltimore transportation project nixed nearly eight years ago by Republican two-term Gov. Larry Hogan.

Hogan called the Red Line project a “boondoggle.” Moore, on Tuesday, talked about a need for reliable public transit in Baltimore. Someone in the crowd called out “Red Line.”

UPDATE: Moore announces transition team, meets with Hogan

“Amen,” said Moore. “Oh it’s on its way, y’all.”

But before that, Moore will have to organize his government and executive team.

And the clock is running.

Moore has roughly 70 days until he is sworn in. During that time, the incoming executive will have to hire top advisers and Cabinet officials. He’ll also lay the groundwork to take office soon after the legislature begins its 90-day session and to advance some of his priorities.

Moore’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

For the next week, it may appear on the surface as if not much is going on.

John Willis, executive-in-residence at the University of Baltimore School of Public and International Affairs and a top political adviser to Democratic former Gov. Parris Glendening, said Moore, as with any new governor-elect, will have to make the transition from the campaign to “it’s a real job.”

“The next week is an opportunity to come down and breathe and think,” said Willis, who has a long-standing relationship with Moore. “Today, you can breathe a little bit.”

RELATED: With historic victory, Brown plans expansion of Md. attorney general’s role

Willis hired Moore’s wife before the two became a couple. And while he describes himself as a friend of Moore’s, Willis has no formal role with the campaign.

Moore is scheduled to make a public appearance Thursday at the State House with Hogan. Next week, the governor-elect will likely attend seminars for new governors, which Hogan has referred to often as “baby governor school.”

Willis said the first 100 days of an administration is more of a contrived and arbitrary measurement. Still, any incoming governor will likely have to have a list of short-, medium- and long-term goals.

“You can’t do everything at once,” said Willis.

The incoming governor will have some money to work with. The state has benefited from a wave of federal pandemic spending and aid and posted roughly $10 billion in surpluses over the last two years. In September, the Board of Revenue Estimates raised its projections on a surplus in the current year to $1.2 billion.

But efforts at the federal level to control inflation have some worried about an impending recession.

RELATED: What an Ivan Bates victory means for the Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office

An incoming governor has limited input into the first budget of the term. Much of that work is done by the outgoing administration. But there will be some room to maneuver.

Moore heads to Annapolis having built relationships with Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson. After eight years of two-party governing in Annapolis, Democrats will again control the executive and legislative branches.

That’s no guarantee of a long honeymoon.

Glendening found himself quickly at odds with lawmakers after stories broke about the creation of a controversial pension program while he was Prince George’s County Executive. The stories resulted in the new governor having to scuttle some Cabinet appointments.

For Moore, Willis said, the end of the honeymoon will more likely come from “external” issues or a standoff between the House and Senate on an issue such as how to allocate expected revenues from the legalization of recreational marijuana.

“The governor-elect has to be careful not to get in the middle of that,” said Willis.


Networking Calendar

Submit an entry for the business calendar