Maryland’s Popular Republican Senate Candidate Incurs Trump’s Wrath

Maryland’s Popular Republican Senate Candidate Incurs Trump’s Wrath


With former President Donald J. Trump’s organization in full attack mode, former Gov. Larry Hogan’s path to the Senate in Maryland is getting considerably narrower.

Mr. Hogan, a popular Republican in a strongly Democratic state and prized Senate recruit, has never tried to hide his disdain for Mr. Trump, the former president and presumptive nominee. But when he urged “all Americans to respect the verdict” just before guilt was rendered against Mr. Trump last week in Manhattan, the Trump team decided the former president’s interests outweighed the Republican Party’s push to regain control of the Senate.

“You just ended your campaign,” announced Chis LaCivita, a veteran Republican operative who serves as a senior campaign adviser to Mr. Trump and as an official at the Republican National Committee.

It got personal quickly. Lara Trump, the Republican National Committee co-chair and Mr. Trump’s daughter-in-law, strongly denounced him on CNN.

“He doesn’t deserve the respect of anyone in the Republican Party at this point, and quite frankly, anybody in America,” she said, adding, “I think he should never have said something like that. I think that’s ridiculous.”

She did not directly answer follow up questions on whether the Republican Party would use its resources to support Mr. Hogan’s campaign going to forward.

But Michael Whatley, the chairman of the R.N.C., seemed to on Tuesday when he told an anchor on Newsmax, the right-wing cable news channel, that “right now Larry Hogan has to run his own race.”

For an anti-Trump Republican, all of that might be a badge of honor. Mr. Hogan has also said he would not be going to the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next month, where Mr. Trump will officially receive the nomination. But in a state where President Biden beat Mr. Trump 65 percent to 32 percent in the 2020 election, the further fracturing of the Republican vote may not be helpful.

Mr. Hogan remains personally popular in Maryland, something Mr. Trump is not. But mathematically, in a state that is particularly attuned to federal elections given its proximity to Washington, D.C., he would need almost all Republicans — and a lot of Democrats — to rally around him in November to win the seat of Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat, who is retiring.

“We don’t want to alienate Trump voters,” Mr. Hogan told The Associated Press in April. “We need Trump voters. And we need a lot of Biden voters. Maryland is tough.”

Mr. Whatley didn’t close off the possibility that the R.N.C. could lend financial support in the future. A Hogan campaign adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal campaign issues, said no one at the committee had reached out to the campaign, formally or informally, to cut off aid — or to assure Hogan aides the money will still flow.

The adviser added that the new party leadership installed by Mr. Trump was never going to spend much in support of down-ballot Republicans, estimating that around $600,000 in campaign assistance could be lost.

Other parts of the Republican campaign structure have rallied around Mr. Hogan, including the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the official Senate Republican political arm, and the Republican leadership’s super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund.

“I thought the trial was a sham,” said Senator Steve Daines, Republican of Montana and chairman of the senatorial committee. “But Larry Hogan is running for Senate in Maryland, not Mississippi,” a nod to the needle Mr. Hogan must thread.

The eye of that needle is exceptionally small, which is why political handicappers still favor Mr. Hogan’s Democratic opponent, who is not as well known: Angela Alsobrooks, the executive of Prince George’s County, a diverse Washington suburb.

In a less inflamed political moment, Mr. Hogan’s statement just before the verdict was rendered might well have been greeted as statesmanlike: “Regardless of the result, I urge all Americans to respect the verdict and the legal process,” he wrote on social media. “At this dangerously divided moment in our history, all leaders — regardless of party — must not pour fuel on the fire with more toxic partisanship. We must reaffirm what has made this nation great: the rule of law.”

Instead, he was greeted with a stream of invective from Trump supporters, including the disgraced former Representative George Santos, the veteran television personality Lou Dobbs, and Chaya Raichik, who runs the right-wing social media account Libs of TikTok, which regularly posts anti-gay and anti-transgender content.

But Mr. Hogan finds himself in a bind. Democrats aren’t likely to sacrifice a seat in the Senate to the former governor, no matter how moderate his politics, or how much distance he creates for himself from Mr. Trump.

Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, came to Mr. Hogan’s defense on Monday, and Maryland Democrats on Tuesday used that testimonial to say that Mr. Hogan is a Republican like any other Republican, not the bipartisan moderate he portrays himself as.

“They need him in the Senate to win the majority and pass their extreme agenda, including a national abortion ban,” said Lindsay Reilly, a Maryland Democratic Party spokeswoman. “That’s disqualifying for Maryland voters.”



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