The popular Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan, will officially endorse Scott Wagner in his bid to defeat Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf.
The state senator’s campaign confirmed the impending endorsement on Wednesday.
Hogan did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The governor is listed as the headlining guest at Wagner’s recently announced fundraiser at the Outdoor Country Club in York.
The Maryland governor was recently named as one of the most popular state executives in the nation, with the second-highest approval rating in the country.
The two men are, reportedly, friends. Politically, though, the measured Hogan stands in contrast to the bombastic Wagner on several key issues.
“Ideologically, they’re not even in the same ballpark. I think we’re basically dealing with a personal relationship here,” said political analyst and pollster G. Terry Madonna, of the endorsement. “(Hogan) may not even know anyone else who’s running.”
To Madonna’s point, Hogan opposes fracking and recently came out against attempts to repeal Obamacare alongside a bipartisan group of fellow governors. Wagner, meanwhile, was featured as the keynote speaker at a March gas industry event and has publicly advocated in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act.
The men do have one thing in common: Hogan is also notably a current client of Red Mavericks, the consultancy handling Wagner’s campaign.
Madonna said Hogan’s endorsement helps bring Wagner’s campaign credibility. But he said the state senator would likely realize bigger gains on fundraising side.
“Having a sitting Republican governor campaign for you,” he said, “gives his campaign credibility. But it helps more to have him show up for a few fundraisers. (The endorsement) is not insignificant. You’re showing your candidacy has a wider level of support.”
Money is an issue that certainly seems to be on Wagner’s mind of late – donation ranges at the aforementioned fundraiser run up to $25,000 a head.
PA Democrats, eager to nip Wagner’s candidacy in the bud, agreed that the endorsement was all about money.
"It's no surprise that the ultimate political insider Scott Wagner has received an endorsement from one of the many politicians he has donated thousands of dollars to in order to buy their favor," said Beth Melena, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Democratic Party, in a statement. Wagner donated $6,000 to Hogan in 2015, as well as $6,000 to Hogan's running mate, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford and $6,000 to the Republican State Central Committee of Maryland, both of which were made in 2016.
Jason High, a Wagner campaign spokesperson, said: "Scott is very excited to have the endorsement of Governor Hogan, one of the most popular Governors in the country. Scott looks forward to working with him once he's sworn in.”