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Political Notes: Hogan running third in poll, SCOTUS scotches Cox appeal, front group eyes Md. wage laws, and lobbying moves

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) delivered a farewell address on Jan. 10, 2023, standing in front of a statue of George Washington in the Old Senate Chamber in the Maryland State House. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) was running third behind former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in a new poll of likely presidential primary voters in Maryland.

The poll, from firm co/efficient, was in the field on Sunday and Monday and surveyed 1,007 people through mobile text and landline interviews.

When asked who residents would support in the 2024 Republican presidential primary, 33% said they would back Trump, 27% supported DeSantis and 18% said they would pick Hogan. Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley attracted 6% support, former Vice President Mike Pence got 1%, and 12% of likely GOP voters said they were currently undecided.

While Trump polled six points ahead of the broader field, he was down on both image and head-to-head against DeSantis. About 56% of those polled had a favorable opinion of Trump, compared to 63% for DeSantis. Hogan’s favorability was not polled.

In a theoretical head-to-head between Trump and DeSantis, the Florida governor would prevail over his constituent 39% to 35%.

DeSantis fared better in a head-to-head against Larry Hogan: 59% to 26%.

If DeSantis were out of the picture, Hogan would gain some slight support against Trump, according to the poll. If the matchup were between Trump and Hogan, the former president would lead 59% to 32%, according to the pollster.

Despite Hogan’s outspoken criticism of the former president, Trump’s favorability remains high in Maryland. The pollster expects that Trump’s support at the polls would grow if the presidential primary field expands.

The poll results were released just after Hogan appeared on Meet the Press last Sunday.

During the interview, Hogan said he would not support Trump in 2024 and that he would consider not running if his candidacy would inadvertently help Trump.

“That’d be a pretty good reason to consider not running. Absolutely,” Hogan said. “…I don’t care that much about my future in the Republican Party. I care about making sure we have a future for the Republican Party.”

The independent public poll was not paid for by any campaign or committee, according to co/efficient. It has a margin of error of 3.58%.

SCOTUS scotches Cox appeal

The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a challenge to Maryland’s early counting of votes.

The challenge filed by an attorney representing Dan Cox was rejected by the court without comment.

Cox, the Republican gubernatorial nominee, lost to Democrat Wes Moore in November. Prior to the election, Cox unsuccessfully challenged a Circuit Court ruling granting a request by the Maryland State Board of Elections to begin counting mail-in ballots prior to Election Day with results released after the polls closed that night.

Cox’s filing with the U.S. Supreme Court claimed that the state court usurped legislative authority in granting the board’s petition because a law that would have allowed early counting was vetoed by then-Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

“While we were disappointed in the denial of the petition, we were not surprised, as only about 1 to 2% are granted,” said C. Edward Hartman III, Cox’s attorney.

The court’s rejection ends Cox’s challenge to Maryland law. The case is similar but not identical case to the Moore v. Harper case out of North Carolina. Oral arguments for that case were heard in December.

Hartman said if the issues raised in his client’s Maryland lawsuit come up in 2024, another challenge could be filed.

Who are these guys?

With Gov. Wes Moore (D) and key lawmakers pushing for legislation that would accelerate the implementation of the state’s $15-an-hour minimum wage, a Washington, D.C., think tank is pushing back with a study from economists showing that the bill – and related legislation to eliminate lower minimum wages for tipped workers – would hurt the economy and workforce.

The report estimated that a federal $15 minimum wage could cost Maryland as many as 8,723 jobs and suggested that the proposed acceleration of the existing schedule from 2025 (and 2026 for smaller businesses) to 2023 would give employers even less time to adapt to the increase.

The leisure and hospitality industries, the report said, which employ most minimum-wage workers, is already experiencing stagnant growth and could be hit even harder by a swifter minimum-wage increase.

The analysis also found that eliminating Maryland’s tip credit could cost the state up to 6.2% of total employment, and cost tipped workers as much as $44 million in earnings. They estimate the average income loss for families of tipped workers could be as high as $2,530 per year.

The study comes from the Employment Policies Institute, which has an innocuous and neutral-sounding name. But it’s more like a front group for the restaurant, fast food and hotel industries, funded largely by conservative foundations and Richard Berman, a business executive once described as “Dr. Evil” in a “60 Minutes” profile, for his work as a point person on Capitol Hill for the tobacco and alcohol industries.

The minimum wage bill and tipped workers bills are being heard March 2 in the Senate Finance Committee. The minimum wage bill is up in the House Economic Matters Committee on Monday. The House version of the tipped workers bill was filed late and remains in the Rules Committee for now.

Coale comfort

Tom Coale, the real estate lawyer, WBAL Radio weekend host, political commentator and civic activist, is becoming a partner at the Annapolis government relations firm, Perry, White, Ross and Jacobson.

“Joining this team allows me to broaden my representation for long-standing clients, find new opportunities to build coalitions around the state’s biggest and most consequential issues and take on new projects among those looking for a new style of representation in Annapolis,” Coale said in a statement. “To be able to do all this while working with some of the most talented people in the industry is the professional opportunity of a lifetime.”

Most recently, Coale was a partner for eight years at Talkin & Oh, a Howard County law firm, where he represented clients on land use and zoning, renewable energy and other litigation matters.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have Tom on board at this pivotal time in the firm’s evolution,” said Jonas Jacobson, a partner at the Annapolis lobbying shop.


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Political Notes: Hogan running third in poll, SCOTUS scotches Cox appeal, front group eyes Md. wage laws, and lobbying moves