Larry Hogan releases ad touting support for codifying Roe as he faces uphill climb to the Senate

Maryland’s Republican nominee for the US Senate is pursuing a unique strategy: come out swinging — on defense.

Larry Hogan debuted his first ad of the 2024 general election cycle on Tuesday in which the former two-term governor of a solidly blue state finally made clear his stance on abortion rights: if elected, he will vote for legislation that would codify the protections for abortion rights in Roe vs Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case overturned in 2022, into federal law.

“As governor, I promised to uphold Maryland law on abortion while providing over-the-counter birth control covered by insurance. And I kept my word,” says the governor.

He then goes on: “With Roe overturned, many have asked what I’ll do in the United States Senate. I’ll support legislation that makes Roe the law of the land in every state, so every woman can make her own choice.”

“No one should come between a woman and her doctor,” he also says in the ad.

Maryland US Senate candidate Larry Hogan appears in an ad released on YouTube (YouTube: Larry Hogan)
Maryland US Senate candidate Larry Hogan appears in an ad released on YouTube (YouTube: Larry Hogan)

There is, of course, a catch: As a Republican seeking to take a Democratic-held Senate seat while the chamber is a 51-49 Democrat-Republican split, Hogan would essentially guarantee that such legislation never makes it to the floor by virtue of simply being elected and throwing control of the body to the GOP.

For the ex-governor to actually cast that vote, he would have to be elected into a chamber still held by Democrats — meaning, simply, the president’s party would have to pick up another seat elsewhere. And it would be largely pointless for that vote to take place in such a scenario anyway; legislation codifying abortion rights into law would require 60 votes, and even with Hogan’s affirmative vote the chamber would still likely be short of the threshold.

But the ad’s aim is simple: to convince the moderate Democrats and independents who voted for Hogan in his two bids for the governor’s mansion to back his candidacy once again. The message? Larry Hogan wants to remind voters that he is a moderate, the kind of Republican that could only win a primary in a Democratic stronghold like Maryland.

That latter part, at least, is likely true: Hogan was courted by some to run for president in 2024, though his most serious overtures were not from the GOP. They were from No Labels, a third-party-curious group that sought to put forward a bipartisan ticket with a prominent Democrat and Republican as a third choice for voters this cycle.

With Hogan set to face Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in the fall, the former governor is likely aiming to paint himself as the centrist option in the race while tarring his opponent as a radical.

It will be interesting to see how his message of full-throated support for abortion rights clashes with the broader themes being spread by his party, including the top of the GOP ticket - Donald Trump, who at his most recent campaign event this weekend warned conservatives explicitly about the danger of Democrats codifying Roe if they won the 2024 election.

The former governor won a largely uncontested primary last week while Alsobrooks pulled off a resounding victory over her Democratic opponent for the seat, Rep David Trone.

A billionaire business owner, Trone turned the Democratic Senate primary into the most expensive such race in the state’s history but still lost by a sizable margin.