While Maryland Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown won the gubernatorial Democratic primary in Maryland and is poised to become the state’s first African-American governor in November, longtime lawmakers Rep. Charlie Rangel in New York and Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi appeared to hold off tough challenges in Tuesday’s primary.
When the race was called by The Associated Press, Brown was winning handily over Attorney General Doug Gansler, 58 percent to 21 percent, with State Del. Heather Mizeur coming in third with 19 percent of the vote.
The race between Brown and Gansler has been nasty for the past year. Gansler came under criticism last summer when an audiotape emerged of him belittling Brown’s candidacy by implying the only thing he had to offer was his race.
“I mean, right now his campaign slogan is, ‘Vote for me, I want to be the first African-American governor of Maryland,’” Gansler told a group of campaign volunteers last July, according to a story in The Washington Post. “That’s a laudable goal, but you need a second sentence: ‘Because here’s what I’ve done, and here’s why I’ve done it.’”
Though Brown served in Iraq as a military lawyer, Gansler belittled that, too.
“You know, I’m running against somebody who has never managed anybody, never run anything,” Gansler said at a forum in Bethesda. “You know his ads are about how he was a lawyer in Iraq, and that’s all fine and good, but this is a real job.”
In Harlem’s 13th Congressional District, which also includes parts of the Bronx, Rangel bested challenger state Sen. Adriano Espaillat to claim a 23rd—and likely, final—term in Congress. Rangel had 47.4 percent of the vote to 43.6 percent for Espaillat, a margin of about 1,800 ballots, according to published reports. In 2012, Rangel beat Espaillat by less than 1,000 votes, with the result in doubt for two weeks as absentee and provisional ballots were counted.
“This was your victory,” Rangel told the crowd gathered in a Harlem ballroom. “This is your congressman. And you can rest assured all I will be doing is thinking about you and bringing resources back home.”
In Mississippi, where Cochran, a Republican, took the unusual step of courting Black voters to support him in a runoff against a more conservative Tea Party challenger, state Sen. Chris McDaniel, Cochran won by about 6,400 votes — a margin of less than 2 percentage points.
Joe Sanderson, Cochran’s finance chair, told Politico he always believed Cochran would win once his legions of admirers realized what was truly at stake.
“I think they came out en masse,” Sanderson said. “I’ll be honest with you, I think some African-Americans came out to support him – I don’t know that, I believe that – because they did not want Chris McDaniel and the Tea Party to win.”
“I believed all the time that Sen. McDaniel got all the votes he was going to get in the first primary.”