Democrat Wes Moore, 44, made history in Maryland on Nov. 7, becoming the state’s first Black governor. His victory puts the governorship back in control of Democrats following two terms of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Moore defeated Maryland Del. Dan Cox, a far-right Republican who former President Donald Trump had endorsed.
Born in Maryland and raised mainly in New York, Moore graduated from Johns Hopkins University and a master’s degree from Wolfson College, Oxford, as a Rhodes Scholar. After several years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserve, he became an investment banker in New York. Between 2010 and 2015, Moore published five books, including one young adult novel, and served as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation from 2017 to 2021.
In his victory speech, he thanked his wife, Dawn, their children, Mia, 11, James, 9, and his supporters and staff. He vowed to make good on his campaign promises, including giving
youth an early start to education access and providing free PRE-K for all children. He has also pledged to provide job training to better match the skill set of workers with available jobs and improve transportation opportunities, especially for residents in areas like Baltimore city who
rely on public transportation. And he addressed the issue of crime, which is a primary concern for Marylanders.
“We will work with police and communities to ensure public safety, to keep illegal guns and violent offenders off our streets,” Moore said. “In our Maryland, you will feel safe in your own neighborhoods – and safe in your own skin,” he said. Moore, the son of a Jamaican immigrant, acknowledged what his victory meant for his journey. “It is not lost on me that I’ve made some history here tonight, too,” he said. “But I also know I’m not the first one to try. I am humbled to be a part of this legacy.”
Moore has emerged as a rising star among Democrats, garnering national endorsement. Democrats and celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey, President Biden, and former President Barack Obama. His historic win also includes lieutenant governor-elect Aruna Miller – an Indian-American woman who will become the first immigrant to hold statewide office in
Moore joins a rare trio of elected Black governors in America, following L. Douglas Wilder (Virginia, 1989) and Deval Patrick (Massachusetts, 2006). P.B.S. Pinchback, another Black, briefly served as the acting governor of Louisiana from December 1872 to January 1873 during Reconstruction.
Several other Black gubernatorial candidates failed in their heroic efforts in other elections on Tuesday, including Stacey Abrams of Georgia, Deidre DeJear of Iowa, Yolanda Flowers of Alabama and Chris Jones of Arkansas.
Still, Moore said he remains encouraged.
“We’re not in this race to make history,” he told supporters earlier on the campaign trail. “We’re in this race because we have a unique opportunity to make child poverty history . . . to make the racial wealth gap history. Now is our time.”