Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin showed he can keep former President Donald Trump at arm’s length without losing the GOP base, all while appealing to a broader audience.
“There’s no question, Glenn Youngkin did a good job of not alienating that base, but Trump never stepped foot in the state, which was a great thing for Glenn Youngkin and for the country,” Mr. Hogan told CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Mr. Hogan, a Republican, said that’s what he tried to do in his 2014 and 2018 elections, winning both times in a deep-blue state.
“It’s not a choice between do you want to turn off the base or appeal to a broader audience,” Mr. Hogan said.
He also said Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe erred by focusing on Mr. Trump for much of the campaign.
Mr. McAuliffe, who served as Virginia governor from 2014 to 2018, lost to Mr. Youngkin by about 2 percentage points after the Republican latched onto parental roles in education and bread-and-butter issues like eliminating a tax on groceries amid supply chain shocks that have increased prices.
“Voters want to hear more about what you’re going to do for them, rather than what you want to say for or against the former president,” Mr. Hogan said.
Sen. Rick Scott, Florida Republican who is closer to Mr. Trump than Mr. Hogan, said Republicans shouldn’t write off the ex-president, but they can win by focusing on the issues while Democrats twist themselves in knots.
“I hope Democrats continue to be obsessed with Donald Trump. I think Terry McAuliffe would probably run his campaign differently, wouldn’t focus his whole campaign on Donald Trump,” Mr. Scott told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “I think what we have to do is we have to say, we would love Donald Trump‘s endorsement. If you’re a Republican, you want his endorsement, but you’re going to win on the issues.”
Mr. Scott said Americans are “fed up with inflation. They’re fed up with their kids being indoctrinated in their schools and they’re fed up with defunding the police.”
“Those are the issues that people care about,” he said. “And so I think this obsession with Donald Trump is going to be good for Republicans next year.”
Mr. Hogan said Democrats will have a hard time if they can’t read the mandate from the 2020 election, in which President Biden won after running as a relative centrist hoping to negotiate bipartisan wins.
Those ambitions got ensnared by House progressives’ demands on a social-spending bill, nearly dooming a parallel infrastructure bill that passed late Friday despite making it through the divided Senate months ago.
“It should have been an overwhelming win back in August and I think he should not have let it get sidetracked by the progressives in the House.”
• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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