Politically risky Senate race for anti-Trump Republican Larry Hogan (Part-2)

Hogan, the nation's most prominent anti-Trump Republican governor, rarely criticizes Trump unless prompted. He's equally eager to ignore abortion, even though Maryland is one of the states that will vote on an abortion referendum this fall, a winning issue for Democrats in red and blue states since the Supreme Court overturned the constitutional right to abortion in 2022.  

Democrats say Hogan would back a federal abortion ban, but he denied it in an interview. He said he strongly favors in-vitro fertilization and will introduce legislation to safeguard it, an apparent attempt to explain his position after declining to declare in an Axios interview last month whether he would support federal protections.  

He said he “would consider voting for” a Maryland ballot issue this autumn to protect abortion rights, even though he thinks it's unnecessary. Hogan claimed abortion is rarely discussed during campaigns. He predicted it would not be “a deciding issue” in the election. Hogan said addressing Washington's divisions, the U.S.-Mexico border situation, crime, and the economy are his top priorities.  

Hogan preferred to interact with folks personally on his weekend bus tour rather than discuss politics. He loved jumping behind restaurant counters to chat with kitchen personnel or take pictures with small business owners. At practically every location, voters of both parties joyfully greeted him.  

Hanover, Maryland's 46-year-old African American Landa Mitchell waved down the governor at a weekend boat show while he toured small business booths. She met him at a homeless benefit years earlier. Mitchell said she'd vote for Hogan despite not being a Republican.  

He’s not far right. He's over there, but he's not far over there," Mitchell laughed, adding that the economy makes her unsure whether to vote for President Joe Biden this year. “I’m not a Trump supporter, but I cry in the grocery store today.” Caroline County Sheriff Donald Baker, who gave Hogan a tour of his office, said he appreciates the former governor's support for law enforcement and noted that a recent job opening received no applicants.  

“It’s gonna be a tough road for him to navigate,” Baker said of Hogan’s political dilemma. I think Larry Hogan can do it. Why? Due to his middle-ground nature. He works well with others.” Hogan will distance himself from Trump, but not too far, as Democrats try to link him to the GOP.  

“We don’t want to alienate Trump voters,” Hogan told AP. “We need Trump supporters. We need many more Biden voters. Maryland is hard.” But he doesn't expect Trump or other MAGA celebs to campaign for him in Maryland in the coming months. Hogan skipped Trump's last two nomination conventions and is unsure if he will attend this summer's Republican National Convention, when Trump will become GOP presidential nominee.  

I doubt Trump would help me. I beat him by 46 points,” Hogan said, noting that Trump lost Maryland more than any other state in 2020. I doubt he needs to run in Maryland.  

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