Maryland is one of the bluest states in the country, having voted Democrat in every presidential election since 1992 and in every Senate race since 1986. With the 2024 general election just seven months away, there’s one GOP candidate who could turn the state purple – and it’s because Democrats are voting for him!

Tight Race Between Two Democrats and One Republican

The 2024 Senate race is heating up in Maryland, and it’s much more competitive than in years past. In 2022, Democrat Chris Van Hollen beat Republican Chris Chaffee with more than 65% of the vote – Van Hollen had 1.32 million votes, while Chaffee had just 682,000. 

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Ben Cardin has held the other Senate seat since 2007 but has decided to retire rather than run for re-election in 2024. He will likely be replaced by one of three primary contenders—two Democrats and one Republican. 

Democrat #1: Rep. David Trone

Rep. David Trone (D-MD) announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Maryland’s 6th district in 2017 – one year after losing to Van Hollen in Maryland’s 8th congressional district. He beat Republican Amie Hoeber with 57.5% of the vote. 

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A new survey by Goucher College found that 52% of Democrats, 31% of Republicans, and 35% of independents have a favorable view of Trone. Since entering office in 2017, he has voted with Joe Biden’s stated position 100% of the time. 

Democrat #2: Prince George County Executive Angela Alsobrooks

Angela Alsobrooks was elected county executive of Prince George’s County in 2018. Prior to that, she served two terms as the State’s Attorney of Prince George’s County, but she’s now running for a spot in the Senate.

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The Goucher College survey found that 47% of Democrats, 23% of Republicans, and 28% of Independents have a favorable view of Alsobrooks. That said, many people are saying she’s just now getting through to the voters – so her numbers could be on the rise soon.

Republican #1: Former Gov. Larry Hogan

Larry Hogan served as the Secretary of Appointments of Maryland for four years before being named the 62nd Governor of Maryland in 2015. He served two terms and was also the Vice Chair and Chair of the National Governors Association between 2018 and 2020.

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The Goucher College Survey found that 57% of Democrats, 66% of Republicans, and 77% of Independents have a favorable view of Hogan. He’s a Republican who votes Republican, but has a lot of support from Maryland voters. 

Hogan Heavily Favored Among Maryland Voters

Of the 800 Maryland voters who responded to the survey, 63% had a favorable view and 30% had an unfavorable view of Hogan – only 5% were undecided. It goes to show that the Senate race is his to lose, but that’s not to say it’s going to be easy.

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Let’s not forget that Maryland is heavily Democratic. While he’s polling well with the Democrats right now, it’s unclear if it will be enough to turn the Senate seat from blue to red for the first time since 1987. 

Hogan Holds Slight Advantage Over Alsobrooks

As part of the Goucher College survey, they asked voters who they would vote for in November if it came down to Hogan and Alsobrooks. 44% of respondents said they would vote for Hogan (including 25% of Democrats), while 40% would vote for Alsobrooks.

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“The candidate who can beat Larry Hogan is the candidate who can energize those voters, including young voters and people of color. Angela Alsobrooks is the candidate who can and will turn out the necessary Democrats to win in November,” said Gina Ford, a spokesperson for the Alsobrooks campaign. 

Voters Are Even More Split On Hogan vs. Trone

When they pinned Hogan up against Trone, the results were even closer. Hogan still held the advantage, but only gained 43% of the votes – including 24% of Democrats. Meanwhile, Trone gained 42% of the vote, including just 8% of Republicans.

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“Should former Gov. Larry Hogan win the Republican primary, our results indicate that the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin would be closely contested against either Democratic candidates,” said Dr. Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College.

Maryland Hasn’t Had A Republican Senator Since 1987

Most people might not realize just how historic a win for Hogan would be for a state that hasn’t had a Republican Senator since 1987 – when Democrat Charles McCurdy Mathias Jr. (R-MD) decided not to seek a fourth term. He was succeeded by Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD).

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The last time Republicans held both Senate seats was between 1971 and 1977, when John Glenn Beall Jr. (R-MD) joined Mathias Jr. in office. He was succeeded by Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD), who spent the next 30 years in that role. 

Why Do Democrats Like Hogan So Much? 

There are several reasons why Democrats favor Hogan more than any other Republican candidate. A lot of it has to do with his name recognition – he has a long history with Maryland voters and has always been supported by Democrats in the gubernatorial elections.

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That said, we can’t overlook his opposition to Donald Trump, which makes him more relatable to those on the left. He also believes in a more moderate brand of politics, which is easier for Democrats to get behind than most extreme Republicans these days. 

Maryland Still Heavily Favoring Biden Over Trump

While Maryland might see one of their Senate seats turn red in November, voters in the state aren’t ready to give up on Joe Biden – especially since Maryland was one of Biden’s most lopsided victories in 2020.

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Four years ago, Biden secured more than 65% of the votes in Maryland, totaling nearly two million votes, more than double that of Trump (976,000 votes). A large reason for the victory was Biden’s success among Black voters—he secured 94% of their votes. 

What Do Voters Want In Maryland? 

The Goucher College survey also asked Maryland voters what the biggest issues were this election cycle. Republicans were heavily focused on crime and public safety, as well taxes and government spending – both of which were chosen by 90% of Republicans.

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Democrats were more interested in health care than Republicans, but both parties showed strong interest in economic development, jobs, and gun control. 

When Is Election Day In Maryland? 

Maryland voters have two statewide elections this year – the Republican and Democratic primaries (which are being held on May 14) and the general election (which is being held on November 5). The primaries will determine the nominees for November’s election.

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Voters will be tasked with electing one President, one Senator, and eight Representatives. Expect a lot of Democrats, but keep an eye on Larry Hogan – who is making a strong case for that Senate seat.