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Larry Hogan Opens Lead Over Dem Challenger, Internal Poll Shows

Democrats haven’t lost a race for a Maryland Senate seat since 1980. New polling suggests the party’s winning streak in the deep-blue state could come to an end in 2024.

Former Maryland governor Larry Hogan, the Republican nominee for the state’s open Senate seat, has opened up a 6-point lead over his Democratic challenger, Prince George’s County executive Angela Alsobrooks, according to internal polling shown to Republican senators during a private meeting on Tuesday. Hogan’s 47-41 percent polling lead over Alsobrooks had Republican lawmakers optimistic about their chances of flipping Maryland red for the first time in a generation, Axios reported.

Republicans began eyeing Maryland’s open Senate seat as a real possibility from the moment Hogan entered the race in February. A popular anti-Trump Republican in a blue state, Hogan ended his second term as Maryland’s governor with a stratospheric job approval rating of 77 percent of Marylanders, including an 81 percent job approval rating among Democrats.

Democrats expected to enjoy a seismic fundraising advantage over Hogan when outgoing Rep. David Trone was leading the polls for the Democratic nomination earlier this year. Trone, the cofounder of nationwide chain Total Wine, poured $62 million of his own money into his primary campaign against Alsobrooks and was signaling there would be no limits to what he would contribute in a general election against Hogan.

But Trone stumbled at the finish line with a series of racial gaffes in the weeks leading up to Maryland’s primary in May and ended up losing to Alsobrooks by more than 10 points. Trone’s war chest is unavailable to Alsobrooks, and now Hogan is on relatively even footing with her in the fundraising race. The latest available figures reported to the Federal Election Commission show Hogan with about $1.8 million cash on hand at the end of April compared with Alsobrooks’s $1.9 million.

Hogan will also receive a boost from Republican groups, which have already reserved $7 million in ads in Maryland, Axios reported.

An Alsobrooks loss in Maryland would be catastrophic for Democrats, who view the state as key to retaining their slim majority in the Senate. “This race in Maryland is about the 51st vote. The Senate majority is most important. It will help determine the Supreme Court justices,” Alsobrooks told reporters on July 4.

Alsobrooks will also have to grapple with the ongoing political headwinds from President Joe Biden’s disastrous debate performance in June. Internal Democratic polls leaked to the press following the debate showed Biden trailing former president Donald Trump in several swing states. And Democratic officials are now sounding the alarm that Trump is also closing the polling gap against Biden in Democratic strongholds such as New York, according to Politico.

For her part, however, Alsobrooks is sticking behind Biden. Prior to the debate, she told Notus she would “love” to campaign alongside Biden.

She reiterated her support of the president after the debate. “Biden had a not-so-amazing debate, but he really has a strong presidency. He has been a strong president. I support him and will continue to support him,” Alsobrooks said.

Public polling on Hogan’s campaign has been mixed. A Baltimore Sun poll in April found the former Republican governor leading Alsobrooks by 18 points. But other polls have found the reverse, such as an Emerson College poll in May showing Alsobrooks with a 10-point lead over Hogan.

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