As chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, I had the unique opportunity to lead the party for four years under both President Donald Trump and Gov. Larry Hogan. This experience, and the results of the 2021 elections in Virginia and elsewhere, make me very optimistic about the 2022 elections in Maryland.
Obviously, there are well-established differences between President Donald Trump and Governor Hogan. However, both of these leaders, as well as nearly all Republicans, support policies based on limited government and personal freedom. That is why polling in Maryland has consistently shown that most Maryland Republicans support both President Donald Trump and Gov. Hogan.
This is not surprising to me. With the exception of each of these leaders’ core supporters, the large majority of Maryland Republicans are more focused on policy outcomes than cults of personality. While media hype and talking heads like to focus on anger and division, most Maryland Republicans have refused to accept this false dichotomy. It’s one of the reasons why Republicans have won three out of the last five gubernatorial elections in Maryland and why they have a great chance to do it again in 2022.
While I supported both President Donald Trump and Gov. Hogan in their reelections, I also am keenly aware that many Maryland independent voters and most Democrats have been much more supportive of Governor Hogan than President Donald Trump. In this regard, my job as state party chairman is to understand this fact and work with our candidates on a winning message for 2022. The opportunity for Maryland Republicans to not only compete in 2022 but win races previously thought unwinnable is extremely real.
My assessment, based on the 2018, 2020, and 2021 elections, is that the Maryland Republican Party will be successful if we have approachable, credible, and likable candidates who advocate for common sense conservative policies on issues like crime, inflation, and parental involvement in schools. These are issues the Democratic Party has either entirely abandoned or moved so far to the left on that Republicans now easily control the debate.
This observation is probably not novel to most Maryland voters. Governor Hogan ran an excellent 2018 reelection campaign by focusing on common sense accomplishments and personal inspiration, against an out-of-touch (and out-of-state) progressive Democratic candidate. The results speak for themselves — Governor Hogan won handily with 30% of Democrats, 30% of African Americans, and more than 50% of Hispanics.
What may be less obvious from the 2018 elections is the success of Maryland Republican women in Maryland’s down-ticket races. In the aggregate of all Maryland county-office races in 2018, Republican women went 42-14 while Democrat women went 44-48. That’s a 28% advantage for GOP women in an election year that was generally more favorable to Democrats.
A similar trend materialized in 2020′s congressional races, where GOP women surged, winning Democrat-held seats in states like California and New York. In fact, the results of the 2020 elections increased the number of Republican women in Congress to 35, from 13, and nearly led to Republicans’ retaking the majority in Congress.
While no Republican I’m aware of advocates supporting any specific candidate based solely on whether the candidate is a man or woman, this data strongly suggests that in general, Republicans are more likely to win more races when we have a credible woman running.
As the 2022 elections begin to take shape, issues like crime, inflation and parental involvement in schools will be the key issues. In this regard, the road map for success for Maryland Republicans is clear. If we nominate approachable, credible, and likable candidates who effectively advocate for common- sense conservative solutions, then we will be historically successful.
Most independents and even some Democrats in Maryland have already shown they will vote for Republican candidates like this — it’s our job to make sure they are on the ballot.
Dirk Haire (@DirkHaire) is chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.