By Adam Pagnucco.
Governor Larry Hogan is now sending out fundraising letters for his reelection campaign. Much of the language is consistent with what we have heard from the Governor before and would be standard for many Republican candidates. But the solicitation ends with a fear-mongering assault on immigration that is perfectly consistent with the GOP in the Era of Trump.
Hogan’s four-page letter starts as you might expect. He discusses “failed liberal leadership” and people being “sick and tired of politics as usual.” He refers to himself as “simply a small businessman, concerned citizen and lifelong Marylander who was fed up with the never ending tax and fee increases and status quo politicians in Annapolis.” He then goes on to describe how he changed all that by passing three budgets with no tax increases, reducing or eliminating fees and getting rid of “job-killing regulations.” Amusingly, he claims, “I was not a politician when I ran for Governor in 2014… and I am not one now.” So far, this is unremarkable. This has been the Governor’s message for years and we would expect this to show up in a fundraising letter.
But then he closed with this.
We have to fight back. Maryland’s future depends on it.
With so much at stake, I am reaching out to committed commonsense conservatives from across the state. You are one [sic] our state’s most loyal activists and I could really use your help. Will you please do me the honor of joining my team to help keep moving Maryland forward and help me push back against a far left agenda and the worst instincts of an increasingly liberal and out-of-touch State Legislature?
How out of touch are they? Instead of focusing on positive change and the safety of our citizens, they have instead been focusing their efforts on trying to make our state a safe haven for criminals here illegally.
Let me be very clear: we cannot allow Maryland to become a sanctuary state. Our local law enforcement should be doing more – not less – to make sure criminals here illegally are turned over to federal immigration officials. The rule of law must come first and we will do whatever we can to stop any so-called “sanctuary bills” that would limit how jails and police could assist federal authorities.
Astonishingly, this letter was sent to a Democrat in Montgomery County.
Hogan is not telling the truth about the Maryland Trust Act, which passed the House of Delegates but not the Senate. The bill that passed the House would not have prevented jails from turning criminals over to ICE and it would not have forbidden counties from participating in the federal government’s 287(g) program to identify criminals wanted by ICE. It would have prevented jails from holding inmates past their sentence dates without a court warrant, which simply restates the policy followed by Hogan’s own state-run jail in Baltimore. It would also have prevented police from questioning people on the street about their immigration status, something that happened in Bel Air just a few months ago. Does Hogan favor detaining people past their sentence dates and having local police randomly check residents’ immigration status without cause? Perhaps he does since he inaccurately attacks this legislation as a “sanctuary bill.”
The broader point is that Hogan is using immigration demagoguery and fear-mongering to raise money. That is very different from the image he cultivates in public of being non-partisan, non-ideological and uninterested in divisive social issues. In this fundraising letter, we see the Real Hogan away from the cameras and the press podium – a politician willing to exploit fear and xenophobia to get reelected.
Our current President would no doubt approve.