Maryland Dems Will Try to Use Abortion to Thwart Larry Hogan

Yesterday’s primary races didn’t produce much in the way of news in terms of the presidential race. That one seems to be set in stone unless the Democrats decide to bail out on Joe Biden at the convention or something unfortunate happens to him. But a couple of down-ballot results suggest some possible good news for Republicans in the Senate. The primaries in both West Virginia and Maryland went largely as the polls had predicted, and each of those races seemed to set up the GOP with opportunities that they haven’t enjoyed in many previous cycles. With the Senate so close to being evenly divided right now and Democrats attempting to rally their voters around the issue of abortion despite the historic unpopularity of their president, control of the Senate majority will be critical going forward no matter who takes the White House. (Associated Press)

Republican voters advanced strong Senate contenders in Maryland and West Virginia on Tuesday, giving the GOP a big boost in its push to claim control of Congress’ upper chamber.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan claimed the Republican nomination in what will be a marquee race in Maryland against Angela Alsobrooks, a top local official who could become the fourth Black woman in U.S. history to serve in the Senate.

Meanwhile, another popular Republican, Gov. Jim Justice, won the Senate nomination in deep-red West Virginia, becoming the overwhelming favorite in the race that represents the GOP’s best pickup opportunity in the nation.

Ever since Joe Manchin announced his retirement last November, the GOP has been drooling over that seat. Now it looks as if they will be favored to take it with Republican Governor Jim Justice on the ballot. Manchin was always an outlier in West Virginia, frequently voting more like a Republican than a Democrat, something that allowed him to maintain his popularity and hold his seat. Jim Justice is also quite popular there with a proven record of electoral success. The GOP holds the Governor’s office, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, and majorities in both legislative chambers. Manchin’s was basically the only significant seat the GOP didn’t have and it would be a great pickup for the Republicans nationally.

The situation in Maryland is a bit more complicated because it features Larry Hogan, who is basically the same sort of anomaly that Manchin has been. He’s a Republican in a deep blue state who held onto his position as Governor by leading as a moderate and long-opposing Donald Trump. He’s hopeful that his reputation will carry him to success in his Senate bid. Unfortunately, his moderate-to-progressive tendencies will likely make him a less-than-reliable vote for the Senate GOP if he is elected. But that’s okay because we’re talking about a game of numbers here.

Over the past few years, the Democrats have demonstrated how powerful it is to maintain control of the Senate majority. That’s how they ensure that only the legislation they support makes it to the floor for a vote and how they have stymied most of the conservative efforts of the House GOP majority. Even if Hogan doesn’t vote how we might like at times, he’s still one more number in the “R” column getting the GOP closer to the magical number 51. Of course, Hogan could always turn around and switch to being an independent once he’s in office, but we’ll need to burn that bridge when we come to it.

The GOP may be looking at some other opportunities for pickups in the Senate in November, but that will depend entirely on the turnout numbers and what impact the presidential contenders have on the down-ballot races. Nothing can be taken for granted at this point. The situation in the Senate also makes the outcome of the presidential race even more critical, though. If we wind up with Donald Trump’s veep serving as the President of the Senate, then the GOP will only need 50 seats to take the Majority Leader’s gavel. Also, after three years of witnessing what a trainwreck Kamala Harris has been, the country really is long overdue for an upgrade.

Speaking of upgrades, it’s going to be a busy year in politics and a critical one as well. If you want to avail yourself of every bit of analysis and commentary that we offer, as well as other bonus content, please consider upgrading to a VIP membership. If you use the promo code “SAVEAMERICA” when signing up, you’ll cut the membership price in half. Thanks for considering this option.

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