The fight between Trump and Hogan emerges in the Maryland GOP governor’s race

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – Former President Donald Trump and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan are not waiting until 2024 to argue over the future of the Republican Party.

As Hogan approaches his second term in final months, he is encouraging GOP voters to line up behind gubernatorial nominee Kelly Schulzwho served in his administration as Minister of Labor and Trade. However, Trump supports Dan Coxa state lawmaker who has said President Joe Biden’s victory should not have been certified called former Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” and tries to impeach Hogan for its pandemic policy.

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The momentum has turned next week’s GOP gubernatorial primary into a proxy battle between Trump and Hogan, who offer vastly different visions of the party’s future as they eye the presidential nomination in 2024. is one of Trump’s most prominent GOP critics and has urged the party to back down from his divisive policies. Trump, meanwhile, has spent much of his post-presidency time lifting candidates who embrace his election lies.

“It’s difficult not to place this primary between Hogan-backed Kelly Schulz and Trump-backed Dan Cox in a broader context of national Republican politics,” said Mileah Kromer, associate professor of political science at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

Whoever emerges from the GOP primary will face steep hurdles in a state that represents one of the best opportunities for a Democrat this year to retake a governor’s mansion. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the state, but Hogan won two terms by promising tax cuts, emphasizing bipartisanship and not being afraid to challenge Trump.

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A poll by the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics in Goucher, The Baltimore Banner and WYPR last month found that Schulz and Cox were in a close race, with Cox at 25% and Schulz at 22% — within the poll’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.8 percentage points. 44 percent of Republican voters were undecided.

Two other Republicans are also in the running: Robin Ficker, a former state legislator who was a well-known sports heckler, and Joe Werner, an attorney.

The winner goes up against the candidate who prevails in a crowded Democratic race that includes former US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, best-selling author Wes Moore, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, and former US Secretary of Education John King .

The competing visions for the Republican Party became apparent as GOP voters voted early in the primary.

Republican Jeff Conley, 68, said he was disappointed with the party’s current performance and voted for Schulz as a sign of his support for Hogan.

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“I’ve been a Republican my whole life, and the Trump people hijacked the party, and I want them back,” Conley said. “I love Larry Hogan. I’d like to see him run and be president and bring along some people who are reasonable and can get along.”

However, Christine Cirone, 50, said she voted for Cox, citing his opposition to the abortion and an unsuccessful lawsuit he filed over Hogan’s COVID-19 policies. Trump’s support, she said, was also an important factor in her vote.

“He’s an America First Patriot. That’s exactly why I voted for him,” Cirone said at an early voting center in Annapolis.

Democrats have tried to meddle in the race to boost Cox’s standing in the primary, a Tactics used by the party in other states this midterm season hoping to face an easier opponent in the general election.

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The Democratic Governors Association paid more than $1 million to air an ad highlighting Cox’s conservative credentials, calling him “too close to Trump” and claiming he will protect the Second Amendment “at all costs”.

“The math is simple,” Schulz said at a press conference with Hogan outside the Maryland Capitol last month to denounce the ad. “Spend a million now and save $5 million by not having to face me in the general election.”

She said Republican voters are “smart enough” to realize that “the best candidate is someone who can win in November.”

Cox described the press conference as evidence his opponent is concerned.

“I think it’s proof that we’re winning,” Cox told reporters. “The people of Maryland want change.”

Hogan has left open the possibility of running for the White House in 2024. He told NBC’s “Meet the Press” last weekend that he believes voters are fed up with extremes in both parties and that there’s “a growing demand for exactly what we’ve had in Maryland for the last eight years.” have been done.”

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Hogan has criticized Cox for organizing buses to Washington for the “stop the steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol by a violent mob of Trump supporters. Cox has said he did not go to the Capitol and left before the riots began.

In a tweet he later deleted, Cox called Pence a “traitor” for refusing to comply with Trump’s demands not to confirm the 2020 election, though he later expressed regret at the use of the word.

Trump has strongly supported Cox while referring to Hogan and Schulz as RINOs, or Republicans in name only, a term of derision for those deemed disloyal to the former president.

“More importantly, Dan Larry will end Hogan’s terrible RINO reign by defeating his ‘Never Trump’ successor, Kelly Schulz, another low-energy RINO,” Trump said in a statement Tuesday.

Hogan expressed doubts about whether this year’s gubernatorial primary reflected a proxy fight between himself and the former president.

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“It’s about two different candidates and two different philosophies,” Hogan said after casting a vote for Schulz last week.

Hogan said Schulz is the only Republican candidate able to build on his accomplishments and keep a Democrat out of the governor’s mansion.

“The other candidates in the Republican primary just don’t have a chance to have a competitive race,” he said.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/07/14/trump-hogan-fight-emerges-in-marylands-gop-governors-race/ The fight between Trump and Hogan emerges in the Maryland GOP governor’s race

Sarah Y. Kim

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