HomePoliticsDemocrats meddling in Trump-Hogan proxy war in Maryland

Democrats meddling in Trump-Hogan proxy war in Maryland

It’s the latest version of an increasingly common playbook for Democrats. In a handful of blue states, and especially in gubernatorial races, Democratic groups and campaigns have run ads pushing the most extreme Republican candidate in a primary, hoping he will win the nomination and be easier to beat in the races. November general election.

The results have been mixed so far: The DGA and Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker successfully picked their opponent in Illinois, though they spent tens of millions of dollars to do so. Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro, the Democratic nominee for that state’s open gubernatorial race, boosted state Sen. Doug Mastriano in the closing days of the Republican primary there, but Mastriano was the GOP favorite even before that. . And in Colorado, efforts to derail Republican gubernatorial and Senate candidates failed.

But Maryland may have the thorniest primary of all: an all-out proxy war between Trump and Hogan, a moderate blue-state Republican who has called on the GOP to chart a new course away from the former president. Trump’s early endorsement of Cox was quickly followed by Hogan backing Schulz, a former state lawmaker who served in Hogan’s cabinet until earlier this year. Hogan endorsed Schulz and much of his political network is working in some way to further his campaign.

“It’s not unexpected,” Schulz said of the DGA purchase in an interview, citing Democratic meddling in races elsewhere. “The DGA would rather spend $1 million now than $5 million in the general election” if she were the candidate.

The race between Schulz and Cox, which also includes two other lesser-known Republicans, remains close. A recent survey by The Baltimore Banner/WYPR/Goucher College he had both within the margin of error: Cox at 25 percent, Schulz at 22 percent. A plurality of 44 percent of voters said they were undecided or did not know who they would support in the primary.

And the DGA announcement could have a big impact. The committee set aside at least $1.2 million in airtime, according to data from ad-tracking firm AdImpact, more than Cox and Schulz have spent on advertising combined.

Trump hasn’t spoken out for Cox in the state, but he called an event the candidate organized late last month. “Dan is MAGA all the time, and I mean that very strongly,” Trump told the crowd at a video posted by the Cox campaign“unlike his opponent named Kelly Schulz, who along with Larry Hogan is bad news.”

Although Cox is tied in the recent primary poll, the DGA insists that it is only beginning to attack Cox before November. “Given Cox’s front-runner status and MAGA’s radical stances, we are starting the general election early and wasting no time in holding him accountable,” DGA spokesman Sam Newton said in a statement.

The Democratic caucus has antagonized Schulz throughout the primaries, with the campaign and the caucus exchanging criticism through the media. (The subject line of a recent DGA press release: “Debate dodger Kelly Schulz is angry, DGA has sent out 8 press releases mentioning her; here’s number 9.”) However, ad buying represents a significant escalation.

“We see this not just as an attack on Kelly, but as an attack on every Republican in Maryland,” said Doug Mayer, a longtime Hogan aide who advises the Schulz campaign. “Because at the core of what they’re saying is that Maryland Republicans are idiots. That they’re rednecks and a bunch of DC know-it-alls can fool them. … At the end of the day, they’re not really fooling people.”

Mayer said he expected Schulz’s campaign to talk a lot about the DGA’s ad campaign in the closing weeks of the race.

While Schulz is trying to carry on Hogan’s two-term legacy, whoever wins the GOP nomination is likely to be an underdog come fall. Democrats see this gubernatorial race as one of their best election chances in the nation, with the popular Hogan off the ballot in a state that President Joe Biden won by more than 30 points.

But the Democratic primaries remain equally undecided. A recent Banner/WYPR/Goucher survey From that packed race he found three candidates, all in their mid-teens: State Comptroller Peter Franchot, author Wes Moore and former US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez.

Hogan criticized Democrats for elevating Cox at a news conference Thursday, calling their meddling grossly irresponsible.

“The Democrats are so afraid of losing again that they are now allowing, emboldening and embracing a QAnon conspiracy theorist,” Hogan said, referring to Cox. “The people who shout all day long that democracy is on the line are willing to play Russian roulette with the state of Maryland, just to win an election.”

The Cox campaign responded to an interview request with a lengthy statement accusing Schulz of colluding with Democrats, saying the data the Schulz campaign circulated about buying DGA ads was not public and showed they were working together. . (In fact, TV ad data is available from private ad tracking companies and on the FCC’s website.)

Cox also interrupted Schulz and Hogan’s news conference on Thursday. according to Maryland Affairs“from time to time yelling at the governor and his protégé”.

And on Friday, Trump issued a statement that repeated Cox’s phrase about the DGA purchase, calling it “all fake games.” He also called the RINOs of Hogan and Schulz, and said that Hogan was coming “to the rescue of his partner ‘Never Trumper.'”

But Schulz clearly sees Hogan, who remains hugely popular with Maryland voters, as a great asset to his campaign. “Marylandians, whether they are Republicans, Independents or Democrats, are happy with the way the state is going and know that another Republican who can keep checks and balances in the state…that is what Marylanders are looking for.” , ” she said.

State House Minority Leader Jason Buckel, a Schulz supporter, said in an interview that the DGA’s efforts were an attempt to elevate a weaker candidate.

Buckel said that while he was not criticizing Cox personally, his campaign would not have the “financial means” to be competitive in the general election.

“The truth of the matter is that the Democrats know [Schulz] it would be hard to top,” Buckel said.

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