Annapolis, MD — Like Republicans across the country, Governor Larry Hogan is coming to realize the peril that Trumpism presents to his reelection campaign.
“Before Election Day, Governor Hogan consistently spoke out of both sides of his mouth, enabling Trump policies as he appealed to his conservative Republican base, while trying to hide his true ideology from the majority of Maryland voters,” said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews. “Like a typical politician, he is now trying to distance himself from Trumpism after Tuesday’s blue wave that is now ready to overtake him in Maryland.”
Yesterday, Hogan’s campaign said Maryland voters “know that Gov. Hogan is radically different in both tone and substance than what they are see coming out of Washington, D.C.”
The problem with that statement: Governor Hogan has enabled the worst aspects of Trumpism, yet he knows he must take steps to try to distance himself from Trump and Republicans’ toxic brand in Maryland.
Hogan and his Maryland Republican colleagues have mimicked Trump’s divisive politics. Hogan himself endorsed Ed Gillespie’s hateful campaign for Virginia governor, and Scott Wagner’s Trump-lite campaign for Pennsylvania Governor. Just like Gillespie, Hogan has also used racist dog whistleson multiple occasions to shore up his political support.
Meanwhile, in the Annapolis mayor’s race, a superPAC backed by Anne Arundel County Executive Steve Schuh and House Minority Leader Nic Kipke, both Hogan allies, ran anti-immigrant ads against Mayor-elect Gavin Buckley; and James Appel, the failed aldermanic candidate, who is a Hogan appointee and Hogan campaign official, distributed racist fliers attempting to falsely tie Alderman-elect Marc Rodriguez to MS-13. These tactics have failed.
Hogan also knows that he can’t abandon his base too much or he will feel the heat. When he reversed his previous Trumpist position on the Roger Taney statue in Maryland this past August, Governor Hogan was rebuked by Maryland Republican base voters. There have been reports that Governor Horgan is “rapidly losing support from the base” of the Republican Party and that Republican insiders are worried his “re-election is in peril…” Hogan’s poll numbers among Republican voters have slipped markedly. On election night, one Republican Member of the House of Delegates reportedly predicted that next year will be“a bad year for Maryland Republicans.”
During his failed campaign for governor, Ed Gillespie struggled to navigate the same political minefield. Should he run with or from Trumpism? He settled on a strategy of “Trumpism without Trump,” which resulted in a wave election up and down the ticket in Virginia. Hogan is struggling—and failing—to navigate the same minefield.