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Former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan was initially disinterested in running for a Maryland Senate seat but eventually entered the race after persistent encouragement from Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell and former President George W. Bush. Hogan’s entry into the race has shaken up the contest to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin and made the once-safe blue seat a competitive race, complicating matters for Democrats as they seek to maintain their slim Senate majority. Democrats remain divided over who to nominate, with Rep. David Trone and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks emerging as the frontrunners.

As the Democrats struggle to choose a nominee, Hogan is positioning himself as an independent-minded candidate and distancing himself from former President Donald Trump. Despite stating that he will not vote for either Trump or Biden, Hogan faces challenges in appealing to voters in a state that Biden won by a significant margin. The race is shaping up to be more competitive and expensive than anticipated, with Trone’s personal wealth allowing him to heavily invest in the campaign.

Trone and Alsobrooks are engaging in a heated battle for endorsements from congressional leaders and groups. Trone has secured backing from House Democratic leadership, while Alsobrooks has support from all but two members of the Maryland House delegation and Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen. Trone faced backlash after using a racial slur during a congressional hearing, leading to endorsements for Alsobrooks from members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Hogan is running a hyper-local campaign, emphasizing his willingness to work across the aisle and connect with voters in every corner of the state. However, he faces questions about his stance on abortion, particularly due to his veto of a bill to expand access to abortion in Maryland. While Hogan claims he would not support a federal abortion ban, he has dodged questions about codifying Roe v. Wade. Additionally, despite running as an anti-Trump Republican, there are concerns about Hogan’s ability to distance himself from Trump and operate in a bipartisan manner.

Overall, the Maryland Senate race has become a focal point for both national parties, with Democrats closely monitoring the contest to determine whether to allocate additional resources. Hogan’s unexpected entry into the race has made it more competitive, with Trone’s significant personal investments and Alsobrooks’ grassroots support adding to the complexity of the primary. As the candidates continue to campaign and vie for endorsements, the outcome of the Maryland Senate race remains uncertain, with the potential to influence the balance of power in the Senate.

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