Politically risky Senate race for anti-Trump Republican Larry Hogan (Part-1)

Maryland —Stevensville Larry Hogan was greeted by Andy DePaola at his family's restaurant with a smile and handshake. The warning followed minutes later. At DePaola's Bagel and Brunch on Maryland's conservative Eastern Shore, 64-year-old DePaola advised a reporter that Hogan avoid criticizing former President Donald Trump.  

I’m a Trumper,” DePaola said as Hogan posed for photos and chatted with the eager breakfast crowd on a Friday morning. I think Larry would be better off if he kept his Trump feelings to himself.”  

The brief interaction during a weeks-long bus trip underscores a stark political reality for the popular Republican former governor, who single-handedly converted Maryland's boring Senate campaign into a top-tier national Senate majority contest. Perhaps the most ardent anti-Trump Republican governor in the nation, Hogan cannot afford to lose any of his delicate and diverse political coalition.  

He hopes to become the first Republican senator in more than 40 years in this deep-blue state, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 statewide and Democratic support is strong in Baltimore and Washington suburbs. For six months, Hogan will face political threats from all sides.  

Democrats expect abortion rights to complicate Hogan's historic battle as Trump loyalists view the 67-year-old businessman with mistrust. Hogan's R may be his worst weakness in a state Trump lost by 33 points four years ago. If Hogan wins Maryland's open Senate seat, Republicans will likely dominate the Senate's agenda and judicial selections for at least two years.  

Hogan said he would caucus with Republicans in Washington despite his reservations about Trump's control in an interview. He promised to stay in the GOP even if Trump wins. “I’m a real Republican,” Hogan told The Associated Press, rejecting Trump’s “Make America Great Again” push. Hogan carefully answered questions about MAGA and if Trump threatens U.S. democracy.  

I think certainly there has been some threats,” Hogan stated. "But you know, I think that's not what this campaign is about." Left-wing Hogan opponents are only starting to mobilize as Democrats go through their primary process. Republicans provide little opposition to Hogan, but Democrats will choose his general election opponent next month.  

Labor, immigration, and progressive groups gathered in the state capital on Tuesday to criticize the former governor for using his veto powers to block abortion access legislation while undermining Democratic priorities like health care, environmental protection, and education funding.  

The anti-Hogan event reminded voters that they may have been more tolerant of party allegiance in his gubernatorial victory than in a Senate race that might swing Washington toward Republicans. “Despite him claiming to be a moderate, we know his actions show that he’s a staunch Republican,” 1199 SEIU political director Ricarra Jones said of Hogan's veto of $15 minimum wage legislation.  

The Senate race in November is bigger than just Maryland,” she said. A Republican-dominated Senate would pursue a drastically different agenda, one that might undo years of progressive gains and transform Maryland's policy landscape for generations.” Hogan's low-profile “Back to Work” bus tour around Maryland is meant to reintroduce him to voters without causing division.  

stay turned for development