It is amazing how clairvoyant the crystal ball practitioners are in their hindsight on Maryland politics. The editorial board’s bold prediction of a “doomed” U.S. Senate campaign for Gov. Larry Hogan is one I’m sure they thought long and hard about (”Could Maryland elect a Republican senator? Not under the party’s current standards,” Jan. 10).
As one of the members of the “sad little club” of Republican nominees who got “pulverized” by a Democratic incumbent where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1, there are four reasons why a Hogan candidacy can be successful in 2022.
First, his name recognition is important. One of the names The Sun’s editorial board failed to mention was former Lt. Gov. Michael Steele who ran in 2006. While Ben Cardin won the election, it was far from a landslide victory with a Nov. 2, 2006, Baltimore Sun poll giving Mr. Cardin a four-point edge. Governor Hogan’s name recognition and his successful two terms as governor will have this race in the margin of error throughout.
Second, 2022 is not 2018. Republicans got crushed in the Donald Trump mid-term of 2018. Some incumbent Republicans in Maryland, including two county executives, got dumped in the blue anti-Trump wave. Context matters in campaigns and in 2018, national politics impacted races down ballot to the county level. A Hogan Senate race will not face those obstacles. As Virginia proved, Governor Hogan’s candidacy may benefit from an anti-Joe Biden red wave.
Third, Governor Hogan outperformed in 2018. Compared to other Republicans in 2018, he outperformed his 2014 numbers. In 2014, Mr. Hogan won with 51% against Anthony Brown. In 2018, he won with over 55% of the vote in the worst Republican electoral year in three decades.
Fourth, Mr. Hogan will have plenty of money and D.C. institutional support. Unlike some of the members of the “sad little club,” Governor Hogan will be amply supported by the D.C. power brokers who can raise millions of dollars. This support, plus Mr. Hogan’s own fundraising and communications staff, will make this a race to watch for this cycle.
While I cannot speak for my fellow former Republican Senate nominees, I am proud of the work our team did in our campaign. I remain honored to have received almost 700,000 votes from fellow citizens across the state. We tried, we failed, but we participated in the democratic process — which is more than most editorial board writers will ever do.
Tony Campbell, Towson
The writer was Maryland’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2018.
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