Maryland is holding its primary races today and the one attracting the most attention is the battle to determine who will replace outgoing Republican Governor Larry Hogan who is barred from serving again by term limits. The GOP primary is essentially a two-person race between Kelly Schulz, Hogan’s chosen successor, and Dan Cox, a MAGA candidate who has been endorsed by Donald Trump. The Democratic field is crowded and it includes the names of some heavy hitters in that party who can smell some blood in the water and believe they can finally be rid of their Republican nemesis. Unfortunately for the people of Maryland, they’re probably correct. (CBS News)
The Republican race for Maryland governor in Tuesday’s primary election pits a candidate backed by outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan against a rival endorsed by Donald Trump.
It’s an early showdown on Hogan’s home turf as he weighs a 2024 White House bid, potentially against the former president.
On the Democratic side, the crowded candidate field includes the former head of the national Democratic Party, a bestselling author, the current state comptroller and a former U.S. education secretary.
This entire affair has been totally frustrating from the beginning. In 2014 and 2018, watching the Governor’s race in Maryland was exciting because of the almost unique nature of Larry Hogan himself. He managed the nearly miraculous feat of not only winning Maryland’s highest office as a Republican in a state where Democrats hold a two-to-one advantage on the generic ballot but also maintaining approval ratings that most other politicians would cut off their right arm for.
But now we’re going to be treated to a primary race between a Hogan wannabe without anywhere near the broad support that the Governor has built and someone whose main claim to fame is an endorsement from a former president that is broadly despised in the very blue state of Maryland. Just because a significant majority of voters like Hogan, that doesn’t mean that they’re going to dutifully go line up to vote for someone new that he endorsed. Meanwhile, the Democrats have candidates with national name recognition lining up to take on the winner of the GOP primary.
Almost from the beginning, it seemed fairly obvious that the GOP would lose the Maryland governor’s seat once Hogan was done. But he had the option of instead throwing his hat in the ring to replace Chris Van Hollen in the Senate. Van Hollen is currently recovering from a stroke and isn’t doing much campaigning. (He does have a primary challenger, but doesn’t seem very worried about her.) With his massive approval numbers and an anticipated red wave on the way, Hogan would have stood an excellent chance to flip that seat. And nabbing a Democratic seat in the Senate would have been far more valuable than simply holding on to the governorship.
But instead, Hogan continues to prance around in various media appearances and talk about a run for president in 2024. As if there is anyone out there in the GOP that’s yearning for a Hogan presidential bid. Hogan wins in Maryland because a lot of Democrats vote for him. There’s a reason for that. He is so “moderate” and far to the left compared to Republicans in other parts of the country, Maryland is just about the only place where Hogan could win a statewide race. If he thinks he’s going to be carrying the GOP primaries in any red or purple states, he’s delusional.
So the most likely scenario I see here is a case where instead of trading the Governor’s office for a Senate seat, the GOP just winds up surrendering both of them. And then Hogan rides off into the sunset to retire in obscurity when his presidential campaign (if he even launches one) falls flat on its face. Larry Hogan isn’t doing his party any favors here and I’ll predict that he won’t be remembered fondly after this is all over.