By Bruce DePuyt
One day after Roy Moore’s flameout in the Alabama special Senate election, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said the outcome was no surprise.
Talking to reporters at a news conference called to announce part of his legislative agenda for 2018, Hogan noted that he “was the first, or one of the first, Republican governors in the country to call on Roy Moore to withdraw” from the race.
Hogan made headlines in November when he called Moore, a fellow Republican and former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, “unfit for office.”
Allegations from multiple women that Moore sexually assaulted or harassed them when they were teens dominated the Senate campaign. Moore denied the charges, and he earned President Trump’s late but enthusiastic endorsement.
The controversy created a dilemma for party leaders in Washington, D.C. — abandon Moore and risk having their already slim Senate majority shrink, imperiling the tax overhaul and other key proposals, or stick with Moore and run the risk of alienating large swaths of the electorate on the eve of the midterm elections.
Speaking to the media on Wednesday, one day after Democrat Doug Jones’ upset victory in Alabama, Hogan called Moore “flawed” and said, “you can’t have the kinds of positions and background that this particular guy did.”
Talking presumably about sexual misconduct, Hogan said, “people are going to have to take these issues seriously.” If there was a surprise in Alabama, it was that “the race was as close as it was.”
Hogan’s comments come as the large field of Democratic candidates for governor prepares for one of the first forums of the 2018 campaign, an encounter Thursday morning at the Committee for Montgomery’s annual legislative breakfast at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. All eight announced candidates are expected to participate.
The CFM breakfast routinely draws hundreds of politically active civic and business leaders, and journalists. The forum is being moderated by Maryland Matters co-founder and editor Josh Kurtz.