Annapolis, MD — Heading into a rough election climate for Republicans, election analysts are predicting that Governor Larry Hogan will not be able to outrun the anti-Trump blue wave washing across Maryland. Today the Washington Post sounded a note of caution for Hogan’s reelection odds, writing that “anti-Trump sentiment in [Maryland] may be too strong” for Hogan to overcome. The Post’s prediction comes on the heels of University of Baltimore professor and former Maryland Secretary of State John Willis predicting that “…federal issues are going to play heavily in 2018…”
This is the second ranking in as many weeks placing Hogan in the top 10 of most vulnerable gubernatorial incumbents, making the Maryland governorship among the most likely seats to switch parties this cycle. Last week, POLITICO wrote that “progressive energy in a Democratic leaning state likely heralds a difficult reelection battle for Hogan.”
“Instead of standing with Marylanders against the destructive Trump Agenda, Governor Hogan has spent the last year ducking, dodging and hiding,” said Maryland Democratic Party spokesperson Fabion Seaton. “There is now a growing consensus that Maryland voters do not want a calculating politician as their governor, and this year they will elect a real leader who puts the interests of our state first and protects us from Trump’s destructive policies.”
Like failed Virginia gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie, Hogan is struggling—and failing—to navigate Trumpism. Should he run with or from the president?
Hogan knows that he cannot abandon his base too much or he will feel the heat. A September Goucher poll found that more than 25 percent of the Republican base voters in Maryland think Hogan has distance himself too much from President Trump. Less than half of all Maryland Republican voters supported Hogan’s decision to note support President Trump during the 2016 election. 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 last November, one Republican Member of the House of Delegates reportedly predicted that next year will be “a bad year for Maryland Republicans.”
At the same time, President Trump’s deep unpopularity in Maryland—only 24 percent of Marylanders have a favorable view of him—prevents Hogan from getting close to the president. Trump’s unpopularity in Virginia proved to be too much for Gillespie to overcome, with 28 percent of Virginia voters citing the president as a “major factor” in their vote. At the time of the election, Trump’s approval rating in Virginia was 35 percent, 11 points higher than it is in Maryland.