Maryland independent candidate for U.S. Senate Neal Simon says Republican Gov. Larry Hogan told him recently that he voted for him.
The two men bumped into each other Thursday at the Mount Vernon Marketplace food hall in Baltimore.
"We went in there, and lo and behold, Governor Hogan was sitting with a few of the people from his team,” Simon said. “I went over to say, ’Hello,’ and the first thing he said to me was, 'I voted for you.'”
Simon and Hogan had met before. Simon’s campaign manager, Steve Crim, ran Hogan’s campaign for governor four years ago.
Asked Saturday in an interview with The Baltimore Sun if he voted for Simon, Hogan praised Simon and said he voted for an independent candidate among his choices for offices on the ballot. He declined to say whom he chose in any specific race when he cast his ballot Thursday during early voting in Annapolis.
U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, one of the longest-serving political figures in Maryland history, is seeking re-election, while a pair of candidates try to shake up an election dynamic in which challengers have historically struggled against Democratic Senate incumbents in the state.
“I ran into Neal eating lunch in Baltimore at Mount Vernon Marketplace,” Hogan said. “I wished him well on Tuesday. I thought he was a great candidate and I thanked him for running.”
“I didn’t make any endorsement in that race. I intentionally stayed out of it,” the governor said. “I did what I’m recommending all voters do: I looked at who I thought were the best candidates for each job and then voted accordingly, regardless of party affiliation.”
“I can tell you, on my ballot, I voted for Democrat, independent and Republican candidates,” Hogan said.
Simon is running Tuesday against Democratic U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin and Republican candidate Tony Campbell. Hogan is running against Democrat Ben Jealous.
Campbell said Saturday that he never sought Hogan’s endorsement.
"I've been to multiple events with the governor the last couple of weeks. I haven't asked the governor for his endorsement because I'm running for U.S. Senate and he’s running for governor," Campbell said.