- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Larry Hogan’s bid for governor of Maryland is getting attention from big names on the national GOP scene as he campaigns to upset Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is considering a run for the White House in 2016, is scheduled to make his second fundraising appearance for Hogan on Tuesday at a private residence in Potomac. A fundraiser last month with Christie, who chairs the Republican Governors Association, netted Hogan’s campaign more than $400,000. Hogan also is getting help from former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, a former governor of Pennsylvania, during an evening fundraising reception on Monday in Gambrills. And Hogan’s campaign received a letter of support from former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush this week.

“With our race now receiving national attention, the momentum continues to surge in our favor and we are confident that Marylanders will vote for change on November 4,” Hogan, who has been campaigning aggressively against tax increases approved in recent years, said in a statement.

Christie has been helping Republicans in other states where the GOP only recently has seen the chance for an opening. He made a swing in Rhode Island, where recent polls showed Republican Allan Fung within single digits of Democrat Gina Raimondo in the governor’s race.

Fundraising support for Hogan from prominent Republicans comes as Brown also gets high-profile support from Democrats, including a rally Sunday with President Barack Obama in Prince George’s County, as early voting is scheduled to begin in Maryland next week and Democrats push for improvement over dismal voter turnout in the June primary.

“President Obama understands that working families face a clear choice between two very different futures in this election,” Brown’s campaign said in an email about Sunday’s rally. “He knows that unless we can get out the vote, Maryland could take a major step backward - but we’re not going to let that happen.”

Brown also has the support of former President Bill Clinton, who attended two big fundraisers that brought in more than $2 million for Brown’s campaign.

Maryland is a tough place for Republicans to win the governorship. Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich became the first Republican governor of Maryland since Spiro Agnew, when Ehrlich defeated Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in 2002. That made Ehrlich the first GOP governor in Maryland in 36 years. Ehrlich served one term before losing to Gov. Martin O’Malley in 2006 and again in 2010. O’Malley is now term-limited.

A poll by The Washington Post released last week found Brown 9 percentage points ahead of Hogan, 47 percent to 38 percent among likely voters, with 11 percent undecided. The margin of error for registered voters was plus or minus 4 percentage points and 5 percentage points for likely voters.


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