Photo above: Larry Hogan Jr. and Anthony Brown greet each other at B'Nai Israel congregation in Rockville on Sunday morning.
By Glynis Kazanjian
Larry Hogan Jr., the Republican nominee for governor, said his Democratic opponent, Anthony Brown, is suddenly changing his campaign message to match Hogan’s, because polls are showing a message of tax relief is resonating with Maryland voters.
“The [Brown] campaign has changed its message to my message,” Hogan said during a political forum at the B’nai Israel Congregation in Rockville Sunday. “Brown now says he agrees with me on tax relief. I don’t think a lot of people are going to believe in his last minute conversion.”
Taxes have been a leading issue for Hogan in the governor’s race. Hogan believes it is because of his message to roll back some of the 40 new taxes and fees incurred during the O’Malley-Brown administration that voters in heavily Democratic Maryland have begun paying attention to him.
A Baltimore Sun poll now shows a 7 point race, with Brown leading Hogan 49% to 42%. The poll also found that Hogan supporters are more likely to come out to vote and other voters remain undecided.
Senate president would cooperate, Hogan says
During the forum Hogan said if he wins, he will have the cooperation of Senate President Mike Miller.
“The president of the Senate recently said he thought there was a chance I might be elected governor,” Hogan said when asked how he could accomplish some of his policy goals while working with a Democratic legislature. “He promised to work in a bi-partisan fashion with me to get things done for the good of the state. His word is good enough for me.”
Hogan, a former Ehrlich administration appointments secretary, said he has experience working across party lines. During his tenure as appointments secretary Hogan said he was able to get 1,839 out of 1,870 people unanimously appointed that required Senate confirmation.
Asked by the moderator how his positions differ from Gov. Martin O’Malley, Brown offered few specifics, other than to say they had dissimilar backgrounds, especially Brown’s immigrant parents and his military service, but they shared the same values: “Good schools, safe neighborhoods, a clean environment and access to affordable, quality healthcare.”
The two gubernatorial candidates will face off Monday at 10 a.m. on News Channel 8 with anchor Bruce DePuyt.
Two undecided voters, however, have already made their minds up.
“I am a registered Democrat but I’m voting Republican, absolutely,” Denise Berman, a Gaithersburg resident said at the forum. “I think [Hogan’s] the best candidate to try and change the state’s mentality. We need to have more diverse opinion in government and we need to have representation from both sides.”
“I knew he couldn’t be as bad as his opponents made him out to be in the commercials they’ve made,” said Gail Libin of Rockville, a registered independent. “I was really concerned about his position on abortion and other female related issues. He came across a lot more positive than I anticipated.”
***Share your reaction to the second debate between Anthony Brown and Larry Hogan today (Monday). It will be broadcast on News Channel 8 at 10 a.m. (live), 1 p.m., 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. and livestreamed on the Internet at 10 a.m. In the Baltimore market it will air at 8 p.m. Monday on WUTB My TV Baltimore channel 24. (It will air on Maryland Public TV on Tuesday at 7 p.m.) MarylandReporter. com will be putting together a collection of reactions and observations about the debate. Send your comments by 10 p.m. to Len@MarylandReporter.com. Real names only, please.***