Governor's Race in Maryland Has Democrats' Attention

GOP's Larry Hogan can't run again, providing Democrats one of few opportunities to gain a flip
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 17, 2022 8:47 AM CDT
Governor's Race in Maryland Has Democrats' Attention
Former Education Secretary John King, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland.   (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

(Newser) – One of the best opportunities for Democrats to regain a governor’s office this year is in Maryland, and the race to succeed term-limited Republican Larry Hogan has drawn a crowd of candidates. Winning back the seat shouldn't seem so tough for Democrats in a state where they outnumber Republicans by a 2-1 ratio, but the GOP has won three of the past five elections, per the AP. Nationwide, Republicans hold a 28-22 edge in governor's seats. Of the 36 governor’s races this year, Maryland and Massachusetts represent the best chances for Democrats to narrow the gap.

Maryland Democrats see an opening now because the popular Hogan, only the second Republican governor to win reelection in the state history, cannot seek a third term. That’s attracted prominent Democrats to Tuesday’s primary, including members of former President Barack Obama’s Cabinet: onetime Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who also was chairman of the Democratic Party, and ex-Education Secretary John King. Also in the race are Wes Moore, a bestselling author supported by Oprah Winfrey; Comptroller Peter Franchot, the state’s tax collector, who has name recognition in Maryland from four successful statewide races; and former state Attorney General Doug Gansler.

The primary winner will probably face either Kelly Schulz, a Republican endorsed by Hogan, or Dan Cox, who is backed by Donald Trump. A poll last month found no clear front-runner among the Democrats. National context: The primary comes less than a month after a new Maryland law approved by the Democratic-controlled legislature took effect to expand abortion access. It was passed in anticipation of the Supreme Court striking down Roe v. Wade, which the justices did in June. Less than a week later, Hogan directed the Maryland State Police to suspend the state’s “good and substantial reason” standard for permits to carry handguns after the Supreme Court struck down a similar New York law.

(Read more Maryland stories.)

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