BALTIMORE -- Two hours after polls closed on election night and his gubernatorial win was projected, Wes Moore took the stage at his campaign's watch party in Downtown Baltimore to make an acceptance speech.
Thethe minute polls closed at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Republican nominee Dan Cox's campaign did not provide a statement in the hours following Moore's projected win.
The win would make him Maryland's first Black governor.
Moore's victory flips a governor's office from Republican to Democratic. Of the 36 governor's races this year, Maryland and Massachusetts represented one of the best chances for Democrats to regain a governor's office at a time when the GOP holds a 28-22 edge in governor's seats.
With the slogan "leave no one behind," the former combat veteran and former CEO of one of the nation's largest anti-poverty organizations campaigned on creating equal opportunity for Maryland residents.
Below is a transcription of Moore's speech, as provided by his campaign:
Thank you, Maryland!
What an amazing night, and what an improbable journey.
I am grateful to every one of you for the hard work you put in to make tonight happen.
To the wait staff and hotel workers here tonight - thank you for making it so incredible here.
And to our volunteers — You knocked doors, you text banked, you put signs in your yards, you put signs in your neighbors' yards ... even if they didn't ask for one.
You took this election personally.
And I am grateful because you believed, at a time when that isn't easy.
When our days are dominated by cynicism and mistrust.
At a time when those of you — those of us — who hope to be part of the solution are often told to wait our turn.
You believed that in this moment, our state could be bolder, and our state could go faster.
And you believed in the son of an immigrant, a graduate of a two-year college, a US Army combat veteran, and a non-profit leader who had never run for office before.
It is because of you that I stand here, humbled and ready to become the 63rd governor of the state of Maryland.
Your support ... your sense of purpose ... carried us across this state we love, across all 24 jurisdictions, from the Western Mountains to the Eastern Shore.
From my birthplace of Montgomery County to my adoptive home of Baltimore City. And everywhere in between.
I look across this room tonight and I see Marylanders from all backgrounds, all walks of life, all income levels ... teachers, small business owners, nurses, union members ... who lent your voices and gave your votes to this campaign.
Who are saying with a collective voice: Our time is now.
What we see today in Maryland is that we can come together.
You know what I never asked my soldiers — "What's your political party?"
We had one mission.
Maryland ... you showed that if we stand divided, we cannot win — but if we stand united, we cannot lose.
I'm lucky to have such an amazing partner in this campaign: Aruna Miller, the Lieutenant Governor-Elect of Maryland.
Aruna, it has been an honor to go on this journey with you.
And we're just getting started.
I am grateful above all for my family — and to my family.
Most of all my beautiful wife, Dawn ... the next First Lady of Maryland ...
Dawn, you are my fuel and my motivation. My greatest protector and my best friend. I love the way this state has fallen in love with you. Everywhere we went, people were asking Dawn to appear. She was so busy she had to start telling people: "I'm so sorry, I can't make your event, but can I send my husband?"
And Mia and James, my heart and my soul. I am so proud of you, and I love you with all of me. You are brilliant, kind, unaffected. I want you and every other child in our state to know that you are never in a room that you don't belong in.
And I am beyond grateful to the best campaign team this state has ever seen. 16 months ago, We started from the bottom, and now we're here! To our campaign manager Ned Miller, our chief of staff Tisha Edwards, and our entire team, thank you.
I love this state. It has been so good to us. But we know that not everybody has been so lucky.
When I was an Army captain and led soldiers into combat in Afghanistan, we lived by a simple principle: Leave no one behind.
But for too long in Maryland, too many of our families and neighbors have been left behind.
During this campaign, many of you have told me about some of the challenges you're facing.
In Prince George's County, I met Donna, an educator who told me that she was more worried than ever for her student's safety, and her own.
On the Eastern Shore, I spoke with Michelle, who has been unemployed for over a year because the jobs that she's applying for need consistent broadband which her entire community doesn't have.
In Baltimore, I met Shawn, a security guard who was working the midnight shift, and blowing his salary on Ubers because there was no reliable public transportation.
And in Western Maryland, I met Shannon, a server who's still struggling, even with multiple jobs.
After our conversation, he told me that I had his vote, but he had one ask, "Don't forget about us."
Shannon, if you're watching, I want to tell you again what I told you that day: I will never forget about you.
I will be thinking about you, and all the people I've met during this campaign, every day that I have the honor of serving as your governor.
Because it is your dreams, your lives, and your futures that have fueled this campaign.
So here is what the Moore Miller Administration is going to do.
We will work with police and communities to ensure public safety, to keep illegal guns and violent offenders off our streets.
In our Maryland, you will feel safe in your own neighborhoods — and safe in your own skin.
We will protect abortion rights and access, and empower women to make decisions about their own reproductive health. The decision to get an abortion is difficult ... but in our Maryland, that decision will be between a woman and her doctor.
We will build a world-class education system, starting with Pre-K for every child in need. And we will invest in apprenticeship and trade programs, so that in our Maryland, every young person has a pathway to long-term economic success.
We will be the first state in the country with a service year option for every single high school graduate.
If we build a true spirit of service in our state, service will help to save us.
Our Maryland will be more competitive and more equitable.
And we don't have to choose between them: We can, and will, do both.
We can make this state a hub of innovation and economic growth.
A place where small businesses can thrive.
A place where small businesses can thrive ... and labor unions are strong.
A place people want to come to, and build, and grow, and retire, and age in place and age in dignity.
Last week, I lost my grandmother. She passed away at the age of 95. Her name was Winell Thomas and we called her Mama Win. Mama WIN. I could not think of a more appropriate name. And I know that tonight she has the best seat in the house. Ella nació en Cuba — she was born in Cuba, and immigrated to this country from Jamaica. She taught public school for nearly 40 years. She came here to build a life, and she ended up building a legacy.
She also helped take care of me after my father died because he didn't get the healthcare he needed. My father could have been saved, but he was left behind.
So you see, this is personal for me. I have seen how a society with broken policies can leave its people broken, too.
"Leave nobody behind" is not just a slogan. It is the value that will guide me as your next Governor.
Our administration will fight to give every single Marylander the chance to succeed. This is our time!
Before I close, let me speak for a moment about history.
We've had a lot of firsts tonight:
Aruna Miller, the first immigrant and first woman of color to serve as Lieutenant Governor.
Brooke Lierman, our first female comptroller.
Anthony Brown, our first black Attorney General.
And it is not lost on me that I've made some history here tonight, too.
But I also know I'm not the first one to try.
This is just more proof that progress is possible in Maryland.
And I am humbled to be a part of this legacy.
But Aruna and me, that's not why we got into this race. The history that matters most to us is the history that we — and the people of this state — are going to make over the next four years.
The results are still rolling in tonight, but it's clear we have a mandate for our vision of a healthier, wealthier Maryland.
Something else is clear, too.
True patriotism is alive and well in Maryland, and alive and well in America.
I grew up in a family of people who loved this country, even if it didn't always love them back.
And my entire life has taught me that patriotism doesn't mean waving a flag around. It doesn't mean telling our own neighbors — we're better than them.
Patriotism isn't a boast. It isn't self-righteous.
You can't love your country if you hate half the people in it.
Real patriotism means bringing people together. It means lifting each other up and improving each other's lives.
Patriotism means knowing that our country is great — and that if we do the work, it will be even greater.
Tonight we celebrate, and tomorrow we get to work.
for more features.