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Government & Politics

Democratic Senator Expected to Endorse Hogan on Wednesday

Maryland state Sen. James Brochin, the Blue Dog Democrat who lost his chance in June to be his party’s nominee for Baltimore County executive by a mere 17 votes, is poised to endorse Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. in his reelection bid Wednesday morning, Maryland Matters has learned.

Hogan is scheduled to appear at a 10:30 a.m. news conference in front of the historic Baltimore County Courthouse in downtown Towson, where Brochin is expected to throw his support behind the GOP incumbent over Democratic nominee Benjamin T. Jealous.

State Sen. James Brochin (D), left, accepting the endorsement of state Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) earlier this year. Brochin is expected to return to the same venue in Towson Wednesday to endorse Republican Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. Photo by William F. Zorzi.

Ironically, the Towson courthouse is the same backdrop used when Attorney General Brian E. Frosh of Montgomery County, one of the more liberal elected Democrats in Maryland, endorsed Brochin for county executive in April. The two served together in the Maryland Senate.

Brochin, a four-term state senator and insurance broker by trade, did not respond Tuesday to requests for comment.

While the Hogan campaign has rolled out endorsements from more than 50 Democrats so far, most are ex-officeholders. Brochin is the first sitting Democratic state legislator to back the Republican governor, though his term is coming to an end.

Brochin has frequently been at odds with Democratic leaders throughout his Senate tenure. Former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D) recruited a former member of the House of Delegates to challenge Brochin in the 2010 Senate primary, but the incumbent prevailed.

Jealous is countering the Brochin endorsement of Hogan with an appearance an hour earlier in Towson, where he will be endorsed by acting Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes, Baltimore County Councilwoman Vicki L. Almond, state Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, Del. Eric Ebersole, Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones, and Maryland State Education Association President Cheryl Bost, a Baltimore County teacher.

Baltimore County is the battleground in the gubernatorial race where Hogan needs to do as well, if not better, than he did in 2014 in order to win a second term. He has worked steadily to build support there, most recently in the Republican primary, in which he publicly backed his insurance commissioner, Alfred W. Redmer Jr., over conservative Del. Patrick L. McDonough.

Redmer scored a decisive win over McDonough in the June 26 primary, capturing 55.5 percent of the GOP vote, a showing that was as important for him as it was for Hogan.

In the Nov. 6 general election, Redmer will face the man who narrowly edged out Brochin, former Del. John A. “Johnny O” Olszewski Jr., who is backed by the progressive wing of Democratic party, from whence Jealous hails.

The endorsement from Brochin, who represents the conservative 42nd District in the Senate, could bring Hogan the kind of support and credibility he needs from cross-over Democrats countywide in his challenge from Jealous.

Olszewski finished just barely ahead of Brochin, 27,820 to 27,803 in the Democratic primary. Almond ran third with 26,842 votes, and Kevin Francis Marron finished a distant fourth with 2,136 votes.

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Democratic Senator Expected to Endorse Hogan on Wednesday