Larry Hogan wins Republican Senate primary in Maryland; GOP aims to flip Democratic-held seat

It’s on to the general election for Larry Hogan after the former two-term Republican governor was quickly declared the winner of the GOP Senate primary in blue-state Maryland.The Associated Press projected Hogan would win the nomination just over 30 minutes after the polls closed in Maryland at 8 p.m. ET. He now advances to a general election showdown that may decide whether the Republicans win back the Senate majority in November.The general election winner will succeed retiring longtime Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin.With Democrats hoping to protect their fragile Senate majority, Hogan’s late entry into the race in February gave them an unexpected headache in a state previously considered safe territory. Hogan, who left office at the beginning of 2023 with positive approval and favorable ratings, was considered the overwhelming favorite for the GOP nomination in a field that included roughly half a dozen candidates.CONTENTIOUS PRIMARIES IN THREE STATES SET UP CRUCIAL GENERAL ELECTION SHOWDOWNSHogan will face off in November against either three-term Rep. David Trone, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, or Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who steers Maryland’s second-most populous county. Trone and Alsobrooks were the clear frontrunners in a crowded Democratic primary race that turned into a combustible fight over whether electability outweighs diversity.WHY SENATE GOP CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE CHAIR IS CAUTIOUSLY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WINNING BACK MAJORITYTrone, the co-founder and co-owner of Total Wine and More, invested more than $50 million of his own money in his primary campaign.”The polls say I’m the only candidate who can beat Larry Hogan. And I intend to use every ounce of my energy to do just that. The stakes are just too damn high,” he said in one of his final ads.While Trone massively outspent Alsobrooks, she enjoyed the backing of much of the state’s Democratic establishment, including endorsements from Gov. Wes Moore, Sen. Chris Van Hollen and five House members.Alsobrooks, pushing back in a recent ad on insinuations from Trone that she’s not experienced enough to handle the Senate, argued that “while my opponent focuses on fighting, I’ll focus on working for you.”While Democrats control the Senate by a razor-thin 51-49 margin, Republicans are looking at a favorable election map this year with Democrats defending 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs.Three of those seats are in red states that former President Trump 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.Now Democrats will be forced to spend time and resources defending the open Senate seat in Maryland.Hogan, a successful business leader before entering politics, won the governorship in 2014 and was re-elected to a second term in 2018. But he faces a steep uphill climb as he runs for the Senate during a presidential election year in the overwhelmingly blue state.While the GOP has had success in gubernatorial elections, no Republican has won a Senate election in Maryland in nearly four decades.”It’s much more difficult effort than anything I’ve done before. It’s almost never happened,” the 67-year-old Hogan acknowledged in an interview with Fox News’ Mark Meredith. “I’m an underdog. No question about that. And that’s why we’re working hard.”The Senate Democrats’ campaign committee is spotlighting that if elected, Hogan would caucus with Republicans and that his victory could give the majority in the chamber to the GOP.”Marylanders know that a vote for Republican Larry Hogan is a vote to turn the Senate over to Republicans so they can pass a national abortion ban and push forward Republicans’ extreme policies. That’s a disqualifying agenda for Maryland voters. Democrats have won every statewide federal election in Maryland for the past 40 years, and 2024 will be no different,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Amanda Sherman Baity told Fox News in a statement.Hogan, a vocal critic of former Preisdent Trump, mulled a run for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination and made numerous trips in 2022 to New Hampshire, the state that holds the first primary in the GOP nominating calendar. But in March of last year, Hogan announced he wouldn’t seek his party’s nomination.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.Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.
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