Hogan Brings in High Approval Ratings at Conclusion of Stellar First Year
Thousands gathered in Annapolis this past Thursday, January 21st, to celebrate the one year anniversary of the inauguration of Larry Hogan as Maryland’s 62nd Governor.
Speaking at the event, and surrounded by First Lady Yumi Hogan and Lt. Governor and Mrs. Rutherford, Governor Hogan recalled his 2014 major upset victory over former Lt. Governor Anthony Brown.
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“We ended up winning 20 out of 23 counties by a margin of more than 35 percentage points”, Hogan said, adding, “It was the biggest mandate for change in Maryland in 66 years.”
Governor Hogan also mentioned several of his Administration’s accomplishments in its first year, as well as his successful battle with cancer, telling the crowd how much their support meant to him.
After Hogan’s remarks, the Governor spent time mingling with those in attendance, talking to them and taking pictures.
The feeling of support for Hogan in that room was almost palpable. Yet Marylanders’ support for their new Governor goes far beyond Annapolis.
Governor Hogan has inspired a belief that he really cares and is willing to be involved.
According to a recent poll conducted by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies, Inc., Larry Hogan has a 67 percent overall approval rating, which is higher than any rating ever received by Hogan’s two most recent predecessors, Martin O’Malley and Bob Ehrlich.
Such an approval rating should come as no surprise to anyone. Because of his solid leadership, determination, and laser-like focus on putting Maryland back on track, Governor Hogan has brought about real change resulting in Marylanders thinking highly of his job performance.
“Governor Hogan has inspired a belief that he really cares and is willing to be involved”, says Al Mendelsohn, Chairman of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee. “When Baltimore had its riots, he moved as immediately as the law allowed to Baltimore City and took personal control of everything that went on. He put the interests of the citizens first.”
Mendelsohn noted several accomplishments during Hogan’s first year, including rolling back toll fees and his work with the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force, saying that the task force has really drawn many Maryland families together.
Mendelsohn also attributes some of the overall success to Republican legislators in Annapolis.
“Of course the Democratic legislature has done what they can to keep the poor poor and let the criminals have their way, but by selectively vetoing bad legislation, the Governor has shown voters that they have a choice. The Republicans in the legislature are showing that they don’t think like the Democrats.”
Many of the same legislators who voted for the Rain Tax voted for the enabling legislation to eliminate it.
One of those Republican legislators, Delegate John Cluster of Baltimore County, also cites several victories for Governor Hogan last year, including getting a bill thru the Legislature that would allow the counties to eliminate the Rain Tax, saying, “Many of the same legislators who voted for the Rain Tax voted for the enabling legislation to eliminate it.”
Delegate Cluster also says that Governor Hogan has been able to stand up to criticism brought on my the Democrats, citing complaints from Democratic legislators for Hogan’s closure of the corrupt and crumbling Baltimore Detention Center last summer.
“The Commission report on the Detention Center suggested that it close in 10 years. Hogan closed it 7 years earlier than the report suggested and the Democrats cried foul”, Cluster said. “One of the comments made was that they were not consulted on the closing. To tell you the truth, I cannot remember O’Malley ever consulting me when he did something in Annapolis”, he added.
Asked about the Governor’s efforts in reaching out to legislators on the other side of the aisle, Cluster said that most of the Democratic legislators that he has spoken with liked the small group gatherings that Governor Hogan held at Government House last year because it gave them one on one time with the Governor in a very relaxed atmosphere.
In addition to a strong overall approval rating, the Gonzales poll also showed that Governor Hogan is enjoying a commanding 78 percent approval rating from Independent voters.
I think that people are glad to have someone as governor that will put the best interest of the People of Maryland first, rather than play politics.
Jim Reeder of the Prince George’s County Republican Central Committee believes that the high approval rating among Independent voters is the result of having a governor who doesn’t play political games.
“[Governor Hogan] is doing what he said he would, and people see that”, Reeder says. “I think that people are glad to have someone as governor that will put the best interest of the People of Maryland first, rather than play politics.”
In addtion to the high approval rating among Independent voters, the poll shows that the Republican Governor has a 94% approval rating among members of his own Party, as well as a 49% approval rating among Maryland Democrats.
Mary Burke-Russell, First Vice Chair of the Maryland Republican Party, attributes the positive approval numbers among Independents, Democrats, and Republicans to Governor Hogan’s ability to deliver positive results to Marylanders of all political stripes.
“Governor Hogan is increasingly popular because he delivers”, Burke-Russell says. “Governor Hogan has worked diligently for the betterment of all Marylanders, and that was his promise. People across the State have seen Governor Hogan’s effective leadership in action in a short period of one year.”
Burke-Russell points to a decrease in registered Democrats and an increase in registered Republicans in Maryland as results from Governor Hogan’s first year efforts, and says that she expects to see Republican numbers continue to rise and the Democrat to Republican ratio to shrink.
Asked about what kind of benefits Governor Hogan’s first successful year had on the Maryland Republican Party, Burke-Russell says that the Party’s funding has greatly improved and that their fields of current and future candidates are widening with the confidence of having an elected Republican Governor.
Governor Hogan has worked diligently for the betterment of all Marylanders, and that was his promise.
“The energy and excitement of our volunteers is greater than I personally have seen in some time”, said Burke-Russell, adding that she is looking forward to the upcoming 2016 elections and expressed optimism at the idea of a Hogan re-election in 2018.
With Governor Hogan dropping a hint during Thursday night’s remarks that he plans on running for re-election in 2018 (referring to his Administration’s efforts to keep improving Maryland for “the next seven years”), status quo political elites should be worried.
No one wants to go up against an incumbent elected official who actually fulfills his or her campaign promises and brings about positive results. That’s the ultimate election season nightmare scenario for any career politician challenger.
It is probably safe to say that much of the reason as to why Governor Hogan had such a successful first year of governance is because he is not a career politician.
And not being a career politician has helped Governor Hogan approach issues in a sincere, bipartisan manner, even announcing at the start of this year’s legislative session that his door is open to legislators on both sides of the aisle and that ideas are welcome from both Democrats and Republicans.
“I think it gives him the ability to come in with a fresh, non-establishment perspective and look at challenges our state is facing”, says Republican State Senator Justin Ready of Carroll County. “As Governor Hogan often says, these are not Democrat problems or Republican problems.”
Ready adds that the perspective that we need to reduce the cost of living and make government more efficient and less expensive was and is sorely needed.
“Having that outsider business perspective has been a major part of that success”, Ready said.
Asked how he thinks Governor Hogan has been able to appeal to his Republican base while at the same time appealing to nearly half of Maryland Democrats, Ready pointed to the Governor’s positive attitude and determination, saying, “I think presenting ideas in an optimistic manner while challenging the political establishment to change to meeting the needs of everyday Marylanders has been a great strength. Of course, the way he has handled crises on his watch so far has certainly helped, from the Baltimore Riots to his personal health challenge with cancer.”
Ready cites the Hogan Administration’s biggest policy success of last year as putting Maryland back on sound financial footing.
“Every dollar is being scrutinized and we’re actually talking about tax relief for working families, retirees, and job creators, so it’s very exciting”, says Ready.
Having that outsider business perspective has been a major part of that success.
It’s incredible that Larry Hogan accomplished more for Maryland in just one year than Martin O’Malley did in his entire eight years as Governor.
What’s even more incredible is that Larry Hogan has done more to turn Baltimore City around in one year than Martin O’Malley did in his eight years as Mayor of Baltimore or in his other eight years as Governor of Maryland.
I’m starting to see a pattern here.
In that case, if Martin O’Malley wins the Presidency, at least we’ll know who to send in afterwards to clean up the mess at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (though there probably won’t be much furniture left).
I think that even my six year old daughter gets a sense of Governor Hogan’s potential.
When my daughter and I were walking in downtown Annapolis late last year, I pointed to the red, stately Government House, telling her that Governor Hogan lives there.
“Wait, it’s not white!” she said surprisingly.
I explained to my daughter that Larry Hogan doesn’t live in the White House.
But he may end up living there soon.