“Tonight we fell short of our campaign goal.” Words that the attendees at Anthony Brown’s election-night party did not expect to hear when the Maryland lieutenant governor’s bid for a promotion came up short.
The night started with cheers and optimism, but as it progressed the atmosphere at the party grew quieter. Appearances from various state Democratic leaders like Ben Cardin and Dutch Ruppersberger tried to keep spirits hopeful.
Party-goers fed off of Brown’s lead in the early-vote count. However, the screen that kept the audience updated was constantly behind and supporters were misinformed about result numbers for much of the night. Once Republican Larry Hogan took the lead, the party really started dying. The music stopped, but there was no chatter to fill the air. Not that any of Brown’s supporters were available for comment. Brown’s campaign kept reporters corralled and wouldn’t allow them to speak with the crowd.
The room at the University of Maryland’s Alumni Center thinned out as more precincts rolled in. Many were gone by 11:30 PM. Faces grew somber only to be broken by the occasional cheer for rare Democratic successes elsewhere throughout the night.
Once midnight struck, the stage began to fill with Brown’s team. Everyone knew that it was over. He conceded and the hopes of those in the room were extinguished.