Video: Blue Maryland about to turn red?

Could Republicans win a gubernatorial election in a state where Democrats outnumber them 2:1? Maryland has had one Republican governor in the last 40 years, but Larry Hogan wants to make it two. According to WJZ in Baltimore, Hogan has come into range of sitting Lt. Governor Anthony Brown:

At Baltimore’s War Memorial on Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama gave Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown a big boost as he reaches for Maryland’s highest office.

Congressman Steny Hoyer shared his enthusiasm with WJZ cameras. …

As for his Republican rival Larry Hogan, he’s trying to pull off a major upset.

And with just hours before voters head to the polls, Hogan may be closing the gap.

“They’re talking about this may be the biggest upset in the country, but we’re not taking this for granted. We’re running like we’re still 20 points behind,” Hogan said.

Well …. maybe. Hogan led in a WPA Research poll last week, 44/39, but that was a poll commissioned by the Hogan campaign, too. A Gonzales Research survey conducted for the Brown campaign put Brown ahead — but only by two points, and only at 46/44. The only other poll conducted within the last couple of weeks on RCP’s polling list was from YouGov, which has some questions over effectiveness, but that gave Brown a 13-point lead and put the Lt. Governor at 51%.

Nevertheless, RCP rates this as a toss-up, and so does the Cook Report:

A respected group of political analysts on Friday declared Maryland’s race for governor a “toss up.”

The Cook Political Report said the contest between Democrat Anthony G. Brown and Republican Larry Hogan was too close to predict who would win, although they gave Brown a “slight advantage” in deep blue Maryland.

Those national analysts now twice revised the Democrats’ hold on the governor’s mansion, moving the race first from the “solid Democratic” category to “leaning Democratic,” and now to “a toss up.”

Color me cautious on this one. Democrats gained a 2:1 advantage in early voting, although how many may cross over for Hogan will be one question that only the ballot count can answer. The RGA has invested heavily in this race, perhaps surprisingly so, considering Maryland’s electorate. Brown has countered by bring out Michelle Obama and Steny Hoyer, trying to emphasize his connection with the national party in a cycle where the party is more likely to be an albatross than a boost. It seems as though Brown feels a need to turn out his base, which may indicate some caution on his part, too.

This still feels like a long shot for Republicans. But if Maryland elects Hogan as its governor, this may be a bigger Republican wave election than some have anticipated. Losing this gubernatorial contest would be a huge rebuke for Democrats, and a shot to the solar plexus for the presidential aspirations of outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley.