Despite never holding office before, Moore has emerged as a rising star in the Democratic Party, racking up a number of high-profile endorsements in his gubernatorial bid. His victory marks a win for Democrats, winning back party control of the governor’s mansion in Maryland for the first time since 2015.
Moore will replace Gov. Larry Hogan, who is stepping down due to term limits in the state.
Moore’s victory concludes a contentious midterm race that garnered national headlines due to Cox’s incendiary remarks, which caused a divide among Republicans, with Hogan refusing to support the Republican nominee and endorsing one of his challengers in the GOP primary.
The election also puts Moore on a path to higher political offices, with gubernatorial wins often leading to future runs for the Senate or the White House. However, Moore has maintained he would serve two terms if elected governor — stopping short of indicating whether he plans to seek higher office.
Moore has quickly become a favorite among high-profile Democrats, with many comparing the political newbie to former President Barack Obama as a defense to attacks that the 44-year-old is too inexperienced to be elevated to the Senate.
“Ronald Reagan didn’t have much experience before he became the governor of the largest state, except as an actor. Barack Obama had a few years [in the U.S. Senate],” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
Moore even caught the eye of President Joe Biden, who praised the Democratic candidate while stumping for him on the campaign trail.
“Wes is the real deal. The real deal, folks. He’s a combat veteran. Only drawback is he’s a Rhodes Scholar,” Biden jokingly said during an event in August. “Former CEO of one of the biggest anti-poverty organizations in America … and if we all do our part, the next governor of Maryland.”