[Maryland GovPics, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Larry Hogan Has Democrats Worried About Their Majority

Elections always have surprise candidates who can pull off an upset and shift the balance of power in Congress by winning a traditionally “safe” seat for the other side. 

In 2024, that surprise candidate might be Larry Hogan, a Republican from Maryland. The former two-term, popular governor surprised everyone and announced a run for Senate rather than running for president as an independent candidate. 

The Daily Caller spoke with Maryland political operatives and they all shared the same message: Democrats are shaking in their boots. 

Former GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, who was comfortably elected twice statewide, launched a surprise Senate campaign on Feb. 9 for the seat currently held by retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin. After receiving a batch of daunting poll numbers, several Maryland-based political operatives believe Hogan’s candidacy is upending the Democrats’ chances at holding what otherwise would’ve been an easy seat to retain, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Republicans view this as a gift, and the Democrats view it as a nightmare,” Paul Ellington, Republican strategist based in Maryland and former state GOP executive director, told the DCNF. 

The former governor left office in early 2023 with his statewide popularity intact, as 77% of Marylanders approved of his job performance. Democrats awarded Hogan with higher numbers than Republicans did at 81% to 68%, respectively, and 76% of unaffiliated voters approved of the governor.

“I think there’s a very real chance that he could win, because he has a record to run on. He has eight years as being the governor, he did not raise taxes, he governed from a common sense point of view and [focused on] kitchen table issues. He didn’t get involved in … the partisan pettiness. In fact, he rose above it and made great strides in establishing himself as moderate, fair-minded governor,” Ellington said. “His poll numbers reflected that, that’s not just speculation. People would have reelected him as governor for a third term if [they] could have.”

A recent poll shows that Hogan made the right decision. In a race between Hogan and David Trone, the Democratic frontrunner and current member of the House, Hogan beats the Democrat by 16 percent, according to a local Fox affiliate. 

“[Hogan is] starting out in a really good place because of his high favorability while Governor and even after he has left the Governorship,” political analyst John Dedie told the news station. “He’s still seen as a popular leader.”

“The reason Hogan’s numbers are so good was he had high favorability’s while he was governor,” said Dedie. “He was a very popular governor, he did a lot of things people liked and this is going to help him in the general election and a lot of different issues where he can kind of show how different he is to appeal the more democrats and independents.”

Democrats currently cling to a two-seat majority in the Senate with 48 seats plus three Independents who caucus with the liberals compared to 49 Republicans. 

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