Demographics and Elections Commentary tagged with Competitive or pipe dream?

5/15/2024: [Maryland] Hogan Wins Senate Primary Easily; Next Race Will Be His Toughest [RightDataUSA]

Photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh

As expected, there was no drama in the Republican Senate primary, where former Governor Larry Hogan won the low-turnout contest by over 30 percentage points. The stakes were higher on the Democrat side, where ultra-liberal billionaire congressman David Trone, who represents western Maryland, faced ultra-liberal county executive Angela Alsobrooks, who hails from the deep, dark jungle of Prince George's County.

Trone got started in politics by taking advantage of his massive wealth and the heavy partisan Democrat gerrymander in Maryland's 6th district to purchase (at a cost of over $17 million) a seat in Congress in the anti-Republican year of 2018, and he held it by decreasing margins in the next two elections. The 96% liberal Trone tries to portray himself as a moderate every couple of years during his campaigns, and his idea of "fundraising" is to whip out his checkbook and calmly write a check for $10,000,000 or so to his campaign treasury.

In this Senate primary however, Trone really was the "moderate" candidate. But as a White male running against a black female, he didn't check any of the politically correct boxes which are so important in nearly all Democrat primary elections, and so he never really had a chance. Trone lost by approximately 54% to 42%, in what Republican strategists have classified as a nasty and divisive primary which they hope will have lasting effects through November; it rarely happens that way on the left, and surely won't be allowed in an election as critical as this one.

The backgrounds of the two candidates were not nearly as similar as their comparable liberal ideologies. Even as a rich guy, Trone is not simply a Democrat trust-fund baby. He became a billionaire by founding a successful business from scratch; at one time he really was a political moderate and even donated to GOP candidates. Alsobrooks, on the other hand, has always been on the extreme left and has spent nearly her entire career in the affirmative-action public sector, at the nexus of government and politics.

Photo credit: wamu.org

Hogan, from the staunch liberal wing of the Republican party, was extremely popular in Maryland during his two terms as Governor. Democrats were as thoroughly satisfied with Hogan as Republicans were, and they made only the most token effort to oppose his re-election bid in 2018. At his election-night victory party that year, Hogan predictably gloated about how his liberalism (as opposed to Democrat apathy) had enabled him to overcome 2018's anti-Trump "blue wave". He was at least partially correct.

Democrats had veto-proof majorities or very close to it in both houses of the Maryland legislature during Hogan's entire 8 years in office, and under those conditions -- see also Vermont and Massachusetts in recent years -- liberals often have no objection to an impotent figurehead Republican as Governor, if for no other reason than to have some handy Republican to take the blame from the media and the voters when Democrat legislative policies prove to be unpopular and damaging. Hogan's gubernatorial "success" notwithstanding, a U.S. Senate seat is a far more important prize than a governorship, and Democrats damn sure aren't going to show any apathy this time around.

The liberal media has been dutifully reminding folks in Maryland that Hogan is very much an "anti-Trump" Republican. Obviously they do this not to boost Hogan in the eyes of other Trump-hating liberals; instead it is a totally transparent attempt to damage Hogan with the solid GOP base -- those who support Trump. They're probably succeeding to some extent. Hogan's win in the Senate primary yesterday was far from unanimous, with 81-year-old frequent (but hopeless) candidate Robin Ficker surprisingly outraising and outspending Hogan by a substantial margin and campaigning solidly to Hogan's right, which isn't exactly difficult. Ficker received only 30% of the Republican vote. That's still 30% who voted against Hogan. Five fringe candidates combined to take another 8% of the vote.

General election polls regarding the Senate race in Maryland have been varied but are trending to the left lately even during the supposedly acrimonious Democrat primary. The polls started out by claiming that Governor Hogan was in the lead, however surveys taken this month have shown him with a considerable deficit against either potential Democrat nominee. The recent results are hardly surprising, given that Maryland is a state in which Democrats + liberal-leaning "independents" comprise two-thirds of the electorate, if not more.

As the general election campaign unfolds, it remains to be seen whether the Democrats will bother to campaign on issues of actual concern to the majority of voters, or if they'll merely stick to appeals to racism (it seems to have worked in their primary) and -- of course -- "aborshun, aborshun, aborshun!" Hogan violates liberal orthodoxy by not being in favor of 100% unlimited taxpayer-funded abortion on demand. Even without looking at future polls, you will be able to determine the likely outcome of this race just by observing the evolution of the prominent campaign topics and the candidates' positions on the issues.

When you see Hogan abandoning what few non-liberal positions he holds in order to run shrieking hysterically to the left, while Alsobrooks makes absolutely no pretense at moderation, that will tell you everything you need to know about how November is going to go in Maryland. OTOH, if you see the Democrats in a panic and feeling the need to fake towards the center, then things may be quite interesting here (don't hold your breath). With West Virginia's Senate seat certain to flip to the GOP, and potential if not actually probable pickups in Ohio and Montana and perhaps some other pipe-dreams if a 1994-style "red" wave occurs, the Democrats cannot afford to lose a seat in an utterly safe state like Maryland.

It's highly likely that they won't lose it.

In their desperation for continued liberal Senate control, the professional prognosticators (most of whom should themselves be rated as "Lean Democrat" or "Likely Democrat") are keeping this race pretty solidly in the D column for November. You should too, but it's still a long way to November.

[May 21 update: It sure didn't take long for what we predicted three paragraphs ago to come true. "Maryland Republican Senate Candidate Larry Hogan Vows to Codify Roe Protections". Pandering never works for Republicans. It gains no votes from the left and loses votes on the right, which seems like an odd way to run a campaign -- if you're trying to win.]


2024 Senate Maryland Hogan Competitive or pipe dream?