ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — With limited-time Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in the highly competitive contest to replace him caught the eye of former President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and even Oprah Winfrey.
As voters choose candidates in statewide, legislative and congressional races on Tuesday, the race for the pivotal governor takes center stage. Hogan, a rare two-term Republican governor in a Democratic-leaning state, has won applause from both sides of the aisle for his bipartisan approach and willingness to challenge Trump.
His legacy on the line, Hogan backed Kelly Schulz in Republican gubernatorial primary. Schulz, who served as secretary of labor and commerce in Hogan’s administration, faces a challenge from Dan Cox, a Trump-backed state lawmaker who sued Hogan over his pandemic policies and then sought unsuccessfully to dismiss him.
On the Democratic side, Tom Perez, former US Secretary of Labor and former chairman of the Democratic Party, has the support of Pelosi, a native of Baltimore, while bestselling author Wes Moore has won the support of Winfrey and US Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 House Democrat. Other top candidates include Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Attorney General Doug Gansler and former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr.
The big-name endorsements that have rolled in Maryland’s primary elections for governor illustrate the high stakes for both parties. Democrats view the contest as one of their best chances nationwide to topple a governor’s mansion in this year’s midterm elections.while Republicans want to cement the party’s hold on office.
The Republican primary offers a potential glimpse into 2024 of the appeal of candidates in the mold of Hogan and Trump, who offer competing visions for the party’s future.
Other big races in Tuesday’s election include contests for the U.S. Senate, U.S. House and Attorney General. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen faces a primary opponent two months after suffering a minor stroke, but should easily earn the renomination. The state’s eight-member congressional delegation has an open seat representing a district in suburban Washington. And the daughter of the former state attorney general is up for her father’s old job.
It could take days, or even longer, to determine the winners of the hottest races. Indeed, Maryland law prohibits counties from opening mail-in ballots until the Thursday following Election Day.
In all, 10 candidates are vying for the Democratic nomination for governor. Perez has the support of unions across the state, while Moore, the former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty organization, has been endorsed by the state’s teachers’ union and the two top leaders of the Maryland General Assembly, House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson.
Franchot, who won four statewide races by wide margins to be the state’s tax collector, brings significant name recognition to the primary. Gansler, a longtime prosecutor, presents himself as a moderate. King served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet.
Voter Laura Kretchman, a 41-year-old high school teacher, said Moore’s endorsement by the Maryland State Education Association helped her decide to vote for him. She said she was impressed with what Moore has achieved after overcoming childhood challenges and being raised by a single mother.
“I teach kids at a school who also came from a difficult upbringing, so maybe I’d like to see what he can do to help those struggling and struggling students,” Kretchman said. , a resident of Annapolis.
While Moore highlighted his credentials outside of government, some voters said they preferred a lengthy government service resume. For that reason, Curtis Fatig, a 67-year-old voter in Annapolis, opted for Perez, who also worked on the Montgomery County Council, as Maryland’s secretary of labor and as assistant attorney general for civil rights. in the Obama administration.
“He’s not a newcomer,” said Fatig, who also appreciates that Perez has union support.
In the Republican gubernatorial primary, Hogan strongly backed Schulz, whom he considers the strongest candidate to face a Democrat in November. Democrats seem to agree, with the Democratic National Committee spending more than $1 million behind an ad meant to boost Cox in the Republican primary. It’s a tactic they’ve used in other states in an effort to take on an easier opponent in the general election.
Hogan criticized Cox for organizing buses full of Trump supporters to travel to Washington on Jan. 6, 2021, for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Cox said he did not go to the Capitol and left before the riots started.
In a tweet that he later deleted, Cox called then-Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” for refusing to heed Trump’s demands not to certify the 2020 election. apologizes and denounces the attack on the Capitol.
Trump, meanwhile, referred to Schulz and Hogan as RINOs, or Republicans in Name Only, a term of derision reserved for party members who don’t line up behind him.
“Get rid of Shutdown RINO Larry Hogan trying to bring another RINO into power, Kelly Schulz,” Trump said in a statement late Monday.
Maryland’s only open congressional seat is in the 4th Congressional District, a heavily Democratic, majority black district on the outskirts of the nation’s capital. Outgoing U.S. Representative Anthony Brown is stepping down from his safe seat to run for attorney general. Former Rep. Donna Edwards, who previously held the seat, is running to get her job back and takes on former county attorney Glenn Ivey in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
The Democratic primary for attorney general has turned into a battle between former Governor Martin O’Malley’s wife, Katie Curran O’Malley, who is a former Baltimore judge, and the daughter of former Attorney General J Joseph Curran Jr., and Brown, O’Malley’s Lt. Governor who lost the 2014 gubernatorial race to Hogan.
Both are in the running to replace Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh, who is retiring. Maryland has not had a Republican attorney general in nearly 70 years.
In other races, candidates are on the ballot for the 188 seats in the Maryland General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.
Maryland’s primary has been delayed for three weeks by the state’s highest court due to lawsuits challenging the state’s congressional and state legislative maps.
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