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As Long as We Remember...

May 13, 2019

Playing Hardball

Jason Miller

Gov. Larry Hogan got some bad news in a Gonzales Research & Media Services poll last week. The results came as no shock to conservative voters in Maryland. Any rational conservative Republican saw the poll results coming a mile away.


This latest poll shows that if Governor Hogan faced President Donald Trump in a Republican presidential primary, he would win just 24% of the vote in the Maryland 2020 primary election.


These poll results vindicated the voices that cautioned the MDGOP not to put all their 2018 statewide election down ballot eggs in the statewide Team Hogan basket.


It’s easy for any Republican governor to have high approval numbers in a progressive state like Maryland, when the strategy is to govern like a Democrat. Offering free college, keeping Maryland on an Obamacare trajectory, and Trump bashing is a lazy way to spike approval numbers among 3/4ths of the state’s progressive voters.


A large portion of Republicans in 2018 voted against Democrat Ben Jealous and not in favor of Larry Hogan. The saddest part of this scenario is that Governor Hogan though his approval ratings validated his Democrat-light attitude toward his own party and President Trump's administration. The latest poll shows that could not have been further from the truth.


A gross over estimation of Governor Hogan’s political power was on full display when, in between his Trump bashing in other states, he lost a very bitter struggle with the teachers union over the state's school calendar, as the General Assembly overrode his veto of a measure allowing the counties and Baltimore City to start the school year prior to Labor Day. To his stunned amazement, the common sense bipartisanship he envisioned for his second term ended abruptly.


Democrats sent Mr. Hogan a legislative memo that they still had a veto proof majority, and he was a lame duck Republican governor. The political honeymoon was over. The battle of attrition began.


Governor Hogan was handed a major political defeat on the school calendar issue despite his popularity among Democrats. The teachers union didn't need the Apple Ballot to defeat his much publicized executive order on the school calendar issue. All the union needed was time. They played hardball with Maryland Democrat legislators while Governor Hogan strived to play patty cake. This trend could be why our governor has low approval ratings on his presidential aspirations within the Maryland Republican Party.


Such defeats could easily be why he wins just 24% of the Republican vote in a 2020 Republican primary against President Trump. The president is expected to capture 68% of Republican primary votes over the left-leaning Hogan, who many in the rank and file Republicans feel is a progressive apologist at least and a Never Trumper at most.


Governor Hogan has spent most of last year branding himself as anything but a Republican. With only 8% of voters undecided, according to the poll, Maryland Democrats are free to treat the resident of the Government House in Annapolis as the traditional lame duck


The Republican portion of the statewide Gonzales Poll was 203 voters, with a margin of error of 7 percentage points. The 24% of Hogan's Republican support in Maryland is irrelevant due to the 7% margin of error.


Sadly, many solidly conservative Republicans, who could be planning to seek a congressional seat in 2020, could be haunted by their attempt to ride the Team Hogan coattails in 2018. The recent national headlines from Governor Hogan's bashing of President Trump in New Hampshire certainly didn’t help any Team Hogan backers.


The MDGOP is holding their annual Red, White, and Blue Dinner fundraiser with Vice President Pence as their guest speaker. That is a good first step toward burying the #NeverTrump Hatchet once and for all. Every effort should be made to reclaim a united MDGOP front for the purpose of advancing traditionally Republican planks in the GOP platform.


Democrat-light doesn't cut it in the White House when Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), and Speaker of The House Nancy Pelosi (CA) are playing hardball.


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