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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Maryland Dems eager to break the GOP’s grip on the governor’s office

ANNApolis, MD ( Associated Press) — Maryland has one of the best chances for Democrats to grab the governorship this year, and the race to succeed limited-term Republican Larry Hogan has drawn crowds of candidates. Winning the seat back shouldn’t be that hard for Democrats, where they outshine Republicans in a 2-1 ratio, but the GOP has won three of the last five elections.

Nationwide, Republicans hold a 28-22 lead in the gubernatorial seats. In the race for 36 governors this year, Maryland and Massachusetts represent the best opportunities for Democrats to close the gap.

Maryland Democrats now see an opening because the popular Hogan, only the second Republican governor to win re-election in state history, cannot seek a third term.

It attracted major Democrats to Tuesday’s primaries, including members of former President Barack Obama’s cabinet: lifelong Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who was also the chairman of the Democratic Party, and former Education Secretary John King.

Bestselling author Wes Moore, backed by Oprah Winfrey, is also in the running; state tax collector, Comptroller Peter Franchot, who is recognized by name from four successful statewide races in Maryland; and former State Attorney General Doug Gensler.

The primary winner will probably face either Kelly Schultz, a Republican backed by Hogan, or Dan Cox, who is backed by Donald Trump.

Given some of the GOP’s successes over the past two decades, Democratic voters are thinking more carefully about who might win in November.

Nancy Duden, 61, voted for Perez early in Annapolis. It was a decision she struggled with during her drive to the polling station.

“Sometimes there aren’t too many good choices, and this time there were so many good choices that I think people really need to focus on the merits of each candidate,” she said. “But I also think you have to think about who can really win.”

Democrats once occupied the governor’s mansion for more than three decades straight. When Republican Robert Ehrlich won in 2002, he was the first in his party to become governor in 36 years—since Spiro Agnew in 1966.

Goucher, The Baltimore Banner and Sarah T. at WYPR. A poll last month by the Hughes Center for Politics found no clear front-runners among Democrats, with Franchote at 16% and Moore and Perez at 14% each.

The primary comes less than a month after a new Maryland law approved by a Democratic-controlled legislature to expand abortion access went into effect. It was passed by the Supreme Court in anticipation of the dismissal of Roe v. Wade, which the judges did in June.

Less than a week later, Hogan directed the Maryland state police to suspend the state’s “good and sufficient cause” standard for carrying handguns after the Supreme Court struck down a similar New York law. .

The Supreme Court also limited access to the country’s main air pollution law, which is used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants—a blow to environmentally conscious Maryland, the nation’s largest estuary. Home of the Chesapeake Bay.

“We have to keep Republicans away from the statehouse,” said 78-year-old Doug McLain, who voted early in Annapolis for Moore and expressed concern about the gun rule as the nation faces a wave of mass shootings.

Moore, a former Army war veteran who served in Afghanistan and was the former CEO of a national anti-poverty group, said the High Court’s decisions made clear how much it would be for Democrats to regain the office of governor. is “widely important”.

“Governors matter in this moment, now more than ever, because governors are really a last line of defense, which many constituents are just going to have against barbaric decisions,” Moore told the Associated Press.

Perez, who also served as assistant attorney general for civil rights during the Obama administration and was a county council member in Maryland’s most populous jurisdiction in the suburbs of the nation’s capital, said the issues were important for states. But setting the tone is more important than ever. such as job creation, clean energy, health care and reproductive health.

“There are many ways we can set the example for the rest of the country, and I think Maryland is one of the top opportunities to change a seat from red to blue,” Perez said.

While the Democrats who control Maryland’s legislature have been able to override many of Hogan’s vetoes over the years, the governor has had an impact. For example, he recently blocked a request to accelerate $3.5 million in annual spending for training to expand the number of people who provide abortions in the state.

Franchot, who has had a friendly working relationship with Hogan on a powerful state spending panel with three voting members, urged Hogan to release the money.

“I think it should have been done immediately,” Franchot said.

Gensler, who lost the then-Lieutenant in the 2014 Democratic primary. Governor Anthony Browne, who lost to Hogan, said the past two elections portrayed the dangers of choosing a Democrat who is too liberal.

“To really fight climate change and get the Chesapeake Bay back, we need a Democrat in office, and we can’t commit political suicide again by electing a Democrat in the primary who can’t win in the general election.” ,” Gensler said.

King, a progressive Democrat, said he believes the party has a great opportunity to overturn the governor’s office.

“To do this we need a candidate who will inspire people in the Democratic Party, and especially youth, people of color, and those outraged by Supreme Court decisions on abortion access and gun safety, and I think I’m in the best position to do that,” King said.

John Barron, a former non-profit executive, and Ashwini Jain, a former official in the Obama administration, are also running. Former Prince George’s county executive Rushorn Baker announced that he has suspended his campaign, although he is still appearing on the ballot. Jerome Segal, an activist, and Ralph Jaffe, a retired teacher, are also on the ballot.

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For full midterm coverage, follow the Associated Press at https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ap_politics.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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