Dems say Hogan crime plan is 'dog-whistling,' as governor carries nearly 80% Black voter approval rating

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Democrats are attacking Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan for alleged racist “dog-whistling” over his efforts to direct funding toward police – even as Hogan’s approval rating with Black voters is nearly 80% in a poll released Tuesday. 

“We, the people that live in the city of Baltimore, are not naïve enough to believe that your attacks come from any form of sincere concern about the problems we face,” State’s Attorney for Baltimore Marilyn Mosby said in a recent open letter to Hogan. “Rather, your actions are purely political, which is why you continue your incessant dog-whistling attacks about Baltimore crime, which contrasts with your deafening silence on the increased crime in the rest of the state.”

Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at a news conference at the Maryland State House, April 17, 2020, in Annapolis. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

That attack came after Hogan railed against Mosby and other Baltimore officials for the sky-high crime rates in the city, and pushed a “Re-Fund The Police” initiative that he announced Monday will include $500 million extra for officers’ salaries, improvements to police facilities and more. 

“Even in the most progressive cities all across the country, leaders are now following our lead and admitting that instead of defunding, they need more investment in public safety,” Hogan said. “There is nothing more important than addressing the violent crime crisis in our state and our effort to re-fund the police and to give them the support and the resources they need to do their jobs more effectively.”

But Democratic gubernatorial candidate John King, the former Obama administration education secretary, Monday accused Hogan of “playing dog-whistle politics” and “scapegoating Baltimore” for his latest effort to back police. 

A Maryland State Police car in a parking lot in 2014. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan plans to spend hundreds of millions of extra dollars on police in his state, including on officers’ salaries and bonuses. 

Despite these attacks from Democrats, Hogan’s approval rating is higher among Black voters than White voters, according to a poll by Gonzales Polls Inc., a Maryland pollster. 

Just under 80% of Black voters approve of Hogan’s job performance, while just over 71% of White voters approve, according to the poll. The numbers are similar when broken out into urban and rural areas. More than 72% of voters in the Baltimore metropolitan area say they approve of Hogan, compared to over 78% in the Washington, D.C., metro area and just under 71% in rural Maryland. 


Perhaps most striking of all – Hogan’s approval rating is higher among Democrats and independents than it is among Republicans. Almost 78% of Democrats approve of Hogan, compared to over 71% of independents and just under 69% of Republicans. 

The Gonzales poll has a 3.5 percentage point margin of error and a 95% confidence level.

Among other state Democrats who criticized Hogan in recent months for his “Re-Fund The Police” push are state House Speaker Adrienne Jones and state Senate President Bill Ferguson, according to FOX Baltimore, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, according to the Baltimore Sun.

State’s Attorney for Baltimore Marilyn J. Mosby (Larry French/Getty Images for BET Networks)

No major police departments in Maryland saw a serious funding cut in recent years, as happened in other liberal cities around the country. Nevertheless, Hogan said Monday it’s critical to give officers more resources amid increased crime. 

“Keeping Marylanders safe is our No. 1 priority, and we will continue to do everything we can to empower our law enforcement agencies with the support and the resources they need to finally get these violent criminals off our streets and behind bars where they belong,” the governor said. 

Hogan is not able to run for reelection as Maryland’s governor this year due to term limits. But he’s widely speculated about as a potential 2024 Republican presidential candidate, especially in light of his rocky relationship with former President Donald Trump – who Hogan considered running against in 2020. 

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