Republican Larry Hogan's second television ad in the governor's race criticizes the O'Malley-Brown administration, not his opponents in the June 24 GOP primary.
What the ad says: The 30-second spot shows Hogan meeting with a group of people. He says, "Tell me, how many of you know someone who is thinking about leaving Maryland? Raise your hand." All in the frame do. "Nearly half would leave if they could. That breaks my heart," Hogan adds. As the scene shifts to scenes of Hogan around the state, the candidate promises to focus on three priorities: "Jobs, middle-class families and restoring our economy." He promises to put spending cuts first and then look at how to roll back 40 tax increases. "We're the only state that taxes the rain," Hogan says. Cutting to a picture of O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Hogan says, "They never met a tax they didn't like, or at least one they didn't hike." He ends by saying, "We can change Maryland for the better" — the theme of his campaign.
The facts: Hogan's claim that half of Marylanders would leave the state is based on a Gallup poll in April showing that 47 percent of the state's residents would leave if they could — the third-highest rate in the nation. The claim of 40 tax increases reflects not just tax hikes, but revenue increases — including bus fare increases supported by many Republicans. The "tax on rain" Hogan cites is a fee the state has required its 10 largest jurisdictions to charge to pay for projects to keep polluted stormwater from flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. Similar fees exist in localities around the country, though not as a matter of state law.
Analysis: Hogan's ad looks past the Republican primary, in which he is one of four candidates, and focuses its criticism on the Democrats. Its tone is serious but affable, not angry. The reference to Brown signals who Hogan thinks the Democratic candidate will be in November.