[Baltimore Sun] Carroll Republicans weigh in on Larry Hogan’s Senate bid ahead of primary

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Some Carroll County Republicans have mixed feelings about former Gov. Larry Hogan’s campaign to capture outgoing Democrat Ben Cardin’s seat in the U.S. Senate, while others say they’re more enthusiastic.

Michelle Wenstrup, of Westminster, a stay-at-home mom with two young children, said she would support Hogan, even though she was frustrated by his policies during the pandemic, particularly as they related to extended school closures and mask mandates.

“I would say my support for him is based on pragmatism,” explained Wenstrup, secretary of the Carroll chapter of Moms for Liberty, a conservative parental rights group. “Trying to win the Senate is more important than getting hung up on the things we don’t like about him.”

There are 49 Republicans, 48 Democrats, and 3 independents in the Senate. But the independents, including Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, caucus with Democrats, making Democrats the majority party under New York Democratic Sen. Chuck Shumer’s leadership.

When asked if she would support Hogan, Sallie Taylor, president of the South Carroll Republican Club, said she is focusing on other races this election cycle, though she acknowledges Hogan is the Republican with the best shot at winning.

“The practical GOPer in me would say that he is the only Republican candidate running that can raise enough money to win in November,” Taylor said.

Maryland’s Senate race is one of the most expensive in the country this cycle, according to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., that tracks and publishes data on campaign finance and lobbying; more than $50 million has been raised by Maryland candidates so far.

Mercedes Moebuis, president of the Republican Club of Carroll County, who was recently appointed to the Republican Central Committee by chair Joe Leeman, said she would support whichever candidate wins the Republican primary.

“I will support the candidate who wins the primary and I think it would benefit Mr. Hogan to do the same,” Moebuis said. “It is time to come together as Republicans and unify our party.”

According to a March report from Axios, Hogan has said he is unwilling to vote for either former president Donald Trump or President Joe Biden in the November election. During the 2020 election, Hogan said he voted for Ronald Reagan, via write in.

Expressing enthusiasm for Hogan’s candidacy was District 5 Carroll County Commissioner Ed Rothstein, who was contacted by the Hogan campaign to help rally other party veterans to the former governor’s cause.

Rothstein said he identifies with Hogan’s brand of Republicanism, emphasizing fiscal restraint and business and property rights, while focusing less on social issues.

“I am 100% in support of Gov. Hogan becoming our next senator and representing Maryland,” Rothstein said. “I want more Republican representation in D.C.”

Primary election day is May 14. Early voting begins May 2 and extends through May 9.

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