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Top Democrats praise Republican aiming to flip key Senate seat in deep blue state

Top Democrats praise Republican aiming to flip key Senate seat in deep blue state

Words of praise for former Maryland governor and Republican Senate nominee Larry Hogan from his Democratic rival in a crucial general election showdown that may decide if the GOP wins back the chamber’s majority.

“We have had a really wonderful working relationship with the governor and his administration,” Democrat Angela Alsobrooks, who as Prince George’s County executive steers Maryland’s second-most populous county, says in an old interview clip used in new video released by the Hogan campaign on Thursday.

Rep. David Trone, the runner-up to Alsobrooks in Tuesday’s Democratic Senate primary, is seen in a clip in the video saying that Hogan “wants to work across the aisle. That resonates.”

And the video also includes Democratic Gov. Wes Moore, Hogan’s successor in Annapolis, saying “I applaud the governor” and President Biden saying that Hogan’s “doing a heck of a job.”

REPUBLICANS AIM TO FLIP A CRUCIAL SENATE SEAT IN THIS OVERHWELMINGLY BLUE STATE

The spot ends with the narrator emphasizing that Hogan’s “a true independent and bipartisan leader who delivers.” The campaign tells Fox News they may put a small digital buy behind the video. 

Hogan, a former two-term moderate Republican governor, is making a pitch to Democrats and independent voters after cruising to the Republican Senate nomination in the overwhelmingly blue state of Maryland.

“You know me. You know my proven track record of reaching across the aisle to find common ground for the common good.” Hogan said in his primary night victory speech. “You know that I’m not going to be just one more Capitol Hill Republican.”

SIX SENATE SEATS THE GOP AIMS TO FLIP IN NOVEMBER’S ELECTIONS

Democrats, as they try to defend their fragile 51-49 majority in the Senate, are playing plenty of defense as they defend 23 of the 34 seats up for grabs in November.

Three of those seats are in red states that former President Trump easily carried in 2020 – Ohio, Montana and West Virginia, where Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is not running for re-election. Five more are in crucial general election battleground states.

Polls indicate that Hogan remains very popular with Maryland voters, and his late entry in February into the Senate race to succeed longtime Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin gave Democrats an unexpected headache. And it will force them to spend time and resources to defend an open seat in a state that was previously considered safe territory.

While Hogan won statewide in 2014 and 2018, running for the Senate in a race that could determine the majority against a woman who would make history as Maryland’s first Black senator appears to be a whole different ballgame.

And Hogan is also facing historical headwinds: While the GOP has had success in gubernatorial elections, no Republican has won a Senate election in Maryland in nearly four decades. 

“I’m always going to be the underdog in Maryland, where it’s arguably the bluest state in the country, and we’re outnumbered two-to-one,” he acknowledged in a Fox News Digital interview on Tuesday.

Moments after Hogan was projected the primary winner Tuesday evening over half a dozen lesser-known Republican rivals, the Senate Democrats’ campaign committee fired up a video which spotlighted that Hogan’s “a lifelong Republican.”

And Alsobrooks, in her primary night victory speech, took aim at Hogan, emphasizing that “if he’s elected, he will give Republicans the majority.”

The GOP’s plan to take back the Senate majority hinges on Maryland,” she warned Wednesday in a fundraising email to supporters.

But Hogan told Fox News he would “try to convince them [Democrats and independents] that I’m going to be the same exact kind of U.S. senator that I was as governor.” 

And pointing to his approval rating as he left office early last year, he added that “77% of them thought I did a pretty good job as governor.”

Alsobooks is also taking aim at Hogan over the combustible issue of abortion, highlighting that “he will not support a national law to protect abortion rights.”

Turnout for the Democrats in Maryland could be boosted in the general election courtesy of a measure on the November ballot codifying abortion rights.

Hogan, who has repeatedly said he doesn’t support any attempts by his party to pass a federal abortion ban, highlighted the issue in his primary night speech.

“Let me once again set the record straight tonight to the women of Maryland. You have my word that I will continue to protect your right to make your own reproductive health decisions, just like I did for eight years when I had the honor of serving as your governor,” he said.

And Hogan argued in his Fox News interview that Democrats “are going to continue to use cookie-cutter Republican attacks against me, but they don’t work against me.”

Hogan, a very vocal GOP critic of Trump – who’s the presumptive Republican nominee – flirted with a 2024 White House run of his own before deciding against it. And he has repeatedly said he won’t vote for the former president in November.

Asked if he’s concerned that his comments could cost him the votes of some Trump loyalists and supporters in the general election, Hogan answered that “the choice will be between me and a liberal Democrat. Hopefully, even if they’re a little upset with me about one particular issue or another, hopefully they’ll decide I’m the best choice for them.”

Get the latest updates from the 2024 campaign trail, exclusive interviews and more at our Fox News Digital election hub.

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