Game on as Republicans aim to flip heavily blue state Senate seat in push to regain majority

Former two-term Gov. Larry Hogan, making his pitch to Democrats and independent voters, after cruising to the Republican Senate nomination in the overwhelmingly blue state of Maryland.”You know me. You know my proven track record of reaching across the aisle to find common ground for the common good.” Hogan told a couple of hundred supporters packed into a hotel ballroom in Maryland’s capital city. “You know that I’m not going to be just one more Capitol Hill Republican.”Hogan will now face off with Democrat Angela Alsobrooks, who as Prince George’s County Executive steers Maryland’s second-most populous county, in the race to succeed retiring longtime Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.It’s a general election showdown that may decide whether the Republicans win back the Senate majority in November.REPUBLICAN LARRY HOGAN TAKES STEP TOWARDS WINNING SENATE RACE IN BLUE STATE MARYLANDDemocrats, as they try to defend their fragile 51-49 majority in the Senate, are playing plenty of defense as they defend 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs in November.Three of those seats are in red states that former President Donald Trump easily carried in 2020 — Ohio, Montana, and West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election. Five more are in crucial general election battleground states.Polls indicate that Hogan remains very popular with Maryland voters, and his late entry into the Senate race in February gave Democrats an unexpected headache, and will force them to spend time and resources to defend an open seat in a state that was previously considered safe territory.CONTENTIOUS PRIMARIES IN THREE STATES SET UP CRUCIAL GENERAL ELECTION SHOWDOWNSMoments after Hogan was projected the primary winner Tuesday evening over half a dozen lesser known Republican rivals, the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee fired up a video which spotlighted that Hogan’s “a lifelong Republican.”And Alsobrooks, in her primary night victory speech, took aim at Hogan, emphasizing that “if he’s elected, he will give Republicans the majority.”But Hogan, in a Fox News Digital interview on Tuesday, said he would “try to convince them [Democrats and independents] that I’m going to be the same exact kind of U.S. senator that I was as governor.” And pointing to his approval rating as he left office early last year, he added that “77% of them thought I did a pretty good job as governor.”But Hogan faces an uphill climb. While the GOP has had success in gubernatorial elections, no Republican has won a Senate election in Maryland in nearly four decades. “I’m always going to be the underdog in Maryland, where it’s arguably the bluest state in the country, and we’re outnumbered two-to-one,” he acknowledged in his Fox News interview.While Hogan’s victory in the GOP primary campaign was never in doubt, Alsobrooks came from behind to defeat three-term Rep. David Trone in a competitive and contentious Democratic Senate nomination battle.SIX SENATE SEATS THE GOP AIMS TO FLIP IN NOVEMBER’S ELECTIONSTrone, the co-founder and co-owner of Total Wine and More and one of the wealthiest members of Congress, shelled out more than $60 million of his own money into his unsuccessful primary campaign as he took aim at Alsobrooks.”I think it’s been a very divisive, kind of angry Democratic primary that’s turned off a lot of voters,” Hogan argued.The Democrats quickly aimed for unity.Trone, in his concession speech, urged that “I need all of you to come together to support the Democratic Party, so we can hold the Senate… we cannot let the party of Trump take our Senate.”And Alsobrooks emphasized that Democrats need to be “united in our focus to keep the Senate blue.”Alsobooks also took aim at Hogan over the combustible issue of abortion, highlighting that “he will not support a national law to protect abortion rights.”Turnout for the Democrats in Maryland could be boosted in the general election courtesy of a measure on the November ballot codifying abortion rights.Hogan, who has repeatedly said he doesn’t support any attempts by his party to pass a federal abortion ban, highlighted the issue in his primary night speech.”Let me once again set the record straight tonight to the women of Maryland. You have my word that I will continue to protect your right to make your own reproductive health decisions, just like I did for eight years when I had the honor of serving as your governor,” he said.And Hogan argued in his Fox News interview that Democrats “are going to continue to use cookie cutter Republican attacks against me, but they don’t work against me.”Hogan, who was a successful business leader before entering politics, won the governorship in 2014 and was re-elected to a second term in 2018.During his last year as governor, Republican leaders in the nation’s capital and in Maryland heavily courted Hogan to run for the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections.But Hogan declined, saying in a news conference in February that year that “as I have repeatedly said, I don’t aspire to be a United States senator.”Fast-forward two years and Hogan changed his mind after another full-court press by national Republican leaders.Hogan, a very vocal GOP critic of Trump, flirted with a 2024 White House run before deciding against it. And he has repeatedly said he won’t vote for the former president in November.Asked if he’s concerned that his comments could cost him the votes of some Trump loyalists and supporters in the general election, Hogan answered that “the choice will be between me and a liberal Democrat. Hopefully, even if they’re a little upset with me about one particular issue or another, hopefully they’ll decide I’m the best choice for them.”Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.
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