Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly has been urging Maryland governor Larry Hogan to run for the Senate. So far, according to this report, Hogan has pushed back against the urgings of McConnell and Sen. Rick Scott, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. But McConnell isn’t giving up. He even enlisted his wife, Elaine Chao, to talk to Hogan’s wife, Yumi Hogan, about the matter.
Could Hogan defeat Van Hollen in deep blue Maryland? According to the Daily Caller, an “internal poll” has him leading the liberal incumbent by double digits, 49-37.
I’m not sure this result accurately reflects the state of an actual race between Hogan and Van Hollen. However, there’s no doubt that Hogan is a very popular governor right now. Another poll conducted at the end of December had his approval rating at 74 percent. Among black voters, his rating was even higher — 80 percent — and he was above water with Republicans, Independents, and Democrats.
In addition, Hogan was reelected in 2018, a terrible year for Republicans, by a margin of 12 points.
It seems clear, therefore, that Hogan would put the Maryland Senate seat in play, at a minimum.
Is Hogan interested in running? I don’t know.
On the one hand, he’s a cancer survivor and may still have health concerns. On the other hand, he is said to have some interest in running for president in 2024.
Hogan has no shot at becoming president. He seems to have a decent shot at being elected to the Senate. And, of course, a run for the Senate in 2022 wouldn’t preclude a run for president in 2024. If anything, a successful Senate run might increase his credibility as a presidential candidate, at least in his own mind.
Hogan is not a strong conservative. If elected to the Senate, he wouldn’t invariably vote the party line.
But Mitch McConnell and Rick Scott want him in the Senate for a reason. Not only would Hogan caucus with the Republicans, he likely would vote with them a good deal of the time on important issues. Chris Van Hollen never votes with Republicans on any matter of major significance.
Maryland cannot elect a Republican Senator more conservative than Larry Hogan. In fact, it cannot elect a Republican Senator other than Hogan.
I hope he runs.