Larry Hogan Faces Senate Challenge Amid Trump Trial Controversy


Larry Hogan doesn’t have the easiest road to the U.S. Senate. He should avoid complicating it further.

The former Maryland governor made a misstep last week, suggesting Americans should “respect” the results of the high-profile Democrat trial in New York against the Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump:

It’s a fact that the rule of law gave this nation its strength, which is why his statement was so problematic.

The New York City trial against Trump looked more like a Soviet show trial or an unjust court in a third-world country than the American judiciary system. The case proceeded after a law firm with ties to Joe Biden and the Democratic Party lent top attorneys to Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Bragg promised during his campaign to target Trump. Initially, the 34 felony indictments he presented were criticized by even Democratic supporters as weak, inappropriate, and corrupt. They rushed to revive this case only after other Democrat-led attempts to jail Trump collapsed.

Even legal experts couldn’t pinpoint the exact laws Trump was accused of breaking by the trial’s end. Nonetheless, a New York jury, from one of the least pro-Trump regions in the nation, quickly found Trump guilty on all unclear charges.

Judge Juan Merchan presided over a trial marred by bias, allowing a “torrent” of improper testimony from prosecution witnesses while rejecting expert defense witnesses, including former Federal Elections Commission Commissioner Brad Smith. Merchan, personally selected for the trial, had severe conflicts of interest: contributions to efforts supporting Biden and stopping Trump, against New York judges’ rules, and his daughter’s client list included prominent Democrats.

The judge worsened the situation by giving jury instructions that let them convict even without agreement on the case’s specifics.

No true supporter of the Constitution and the rule of law should endorse show trials. The stance is clear and unequivocal.

Principled Leadership Over Petty Feelings

Maryland heavily leans Democrat. Hogan secured the Republican primary last month despite his liberal stances contrasting with many Maryland Republicans. To win, he needs to retain Republican support, around a third of the state’s voters, while attracting enough independents and Democrats to surpass his Democrat opponent, Angela Alsobrooks.

He’s been highlighting his independence. “I want to say this up front: In the Senate, Republicans can’t count on my vote,” Hogan stated in a 30-second TV ad released last week. He also noted that Democrats couldn’t either, as he would base decisions on the state’s needs.

Hogan’s disdain for Trump is well-known. His criticism of the Republican leader has earned him significant media attention. He doesn’t need to abandon his stance, but he should oppose lawfare and build political alliances with principle.

The Republican Party can accommodate Hogan’s anti-Trump perspective. However, it likely cannot include those who back show trials. Potential Hogan voters already know that Trump’s conviction by the New York prosecutor, judge, and jury is politically driven.

Potential Hogan allies also understand the importance of the rule of law and justice. Hogan will fail if he implies support for unequal justice. He shouldn’t waver on this issue.

In 2016, Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Rep. Joe Heck, fearing Trump’s loss after the Access Hollywood tape, denounced him in their Senate campaigns. It was politically unwise but principled.

In 2024, defending show trials is politically foolish and unprincipled. It serves no purpose unless the goal is to harm Trump and Republicans while undermining the United States.

Is Hogan aiming to defeat a left-wing Democrat and add a moderate vote to the Republican Senate? Or is he trying to damage Republicans’ presidential chances by echoing extreme Biden campaign points?

If it’s the former, he should oppose Democrat lawfare swiftly. Nobody expects the fervor of Mike Lee or Marco Rubio. But he could at least match Mitt Romney, or give the minimal support like Mitch McConnell or John Thune.

In this case, it’s easy for Hogan to adopt a clear, American stance against politically motivated prosecutions, emphasizing that elections should be decided by voters, not lawfare.

If he can’t make this stand or doesn’t genuinely believe it, Republicans shouldn’t waste their resources or votes on him, as he will definitely fail.

Mollie Hemingway
Mollie Hemingway
Editor. Mollie Hemingway is Senior Journalism Fellow at Hillsdale College and a Fox News contributor. She is the co-author of Justice on Trial: The Kavanaugh Confirmation and the Future of the Supreme Court. She is the author of Rigged: How the Media, Big Tech, and the Democrats Seized Our Elections.

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