A new poll makes a case for Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to take on incumbent Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, for his seat in 2022.
In a survey of registered Maryland voters by The Washington Post and the University of Maryland, published Thursday, 50 percent said they would pick Hogan, a Republican, for the Senate seat, compared to 42 percent who would choose Van Hollen, who’s currently midway through his first term.
Van Hollen served seven terms in the U.S. House of Representatives for the 8th District before being elected as the junior senator for Maryland in 2016 when Barbara Mikulski retired.
The same poll found two-thirds of Maryland voters approve of Hogan’s performance as governor, which is in line with his consistently strong approval ratings in deep-blue Maryland.
There’s been little public talk of Hogan running for U.S. Senate. He did briefly tease a rare presidential run challenging a sitting same-party president for 2020, but backed out early. Polls from New Hampshire found only 1 percent of voters said they would pick Hogan over Donald Trump.
The same WaPo-UMD poll found disapproval among Maryland voters for his use of “dark money” fundraising.
Hogan has launched a super PAC to raise money in support his agenda opposing an expensive education reform proposal from the state’s Kirwan Commission in Annapolis. While 81 percent of voters surveyed said they’ve heard or read “nothing at all” about Hogan setting up such an entity, which he has, 56 percent said they “disapprove of Hogan using political groups that can accept unlimited donations to further his agenda.”
Similar to a recent Goucher College poll, this survey found a large share (61 percent) of Marylanders have heard nothing about the Kirwan Commission’s work, but are supportive of a steep increase in state education spending over time.
Asked if they would support raising taxes to fund it, a plurality (49 percent) said they oppose a 0.5 percent hike for state income taxes, but more (55 percent) said they would support a quarter-point increase in the income tax rate.
On another timely issue, as Maryland’s General Assembly has formed a task force to explore potentially legalizing, taxing and regulating cannabis sales, two-thirds of voters said they support the idea.
The poll surveyed 819 registered Maryland voters from Oct. 9-14, with a 4.5 percent margin of error. The results are available in full here.
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