GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WUSA9) -- While Labor Day is the traditional end of summer, it's also the traditional start of the political season. In the Maryland governor's race, things turned nasty a while ago.
At the Labor Day Parade here, maybe it was just a coincidence, but Gaithersburg Parade organizers stuck Republican gubernatorial candidate Larry Hogan near the end of the line -- right behind the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
"We didn't have much to do with that," said Hogan. "This is where they stuck us in the parade."
At least one spectator's convinced it's a conspiracy. "We're already up to ten Democrats in the parade lineup and we haven't gotten to any Montgomery County Republicans," said the woman, who declined to give her name. "They might as well ask them to carry the garbage cans and brooms and sweep up the horse manure.
It's been a dozen years since a Republican won a Maryland Governor's race. And before Republican Bob Ehrlich beat lackluster Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the GOP had spent decades in the desert. But Larry Hogan is convinced he can break the drought.
"We're not going to build a better Maryland if we follow Larry Hogan's agenda, which is to give big corporate tax giveaways and fight for the privileged few," says Democratic nominee Anthony Brown. He says Hogan is out of touch with Maryland. "We're going to invest in quality education We're going to take assault weapons off the street," says Brown. His commercials suggest Hogan's against those things.
But Hogan says: "The Lt. Gov is just lying about my record and trying to paint me into something I'm not. I've always been a moderate."
Hogan did get some attaboy's. "Good luck. We need you," said one parade watcher, shaking his hand.
But it's a long hike from a Labor Day parade to an Election Day victory against an incumbent Lt Governor in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by two to one.
A poll released late last month by a Republican-leaning pollster suggested the race is remarkably close. But earlier polls by independent pollsters suggested Brown had a wide lead.