By Glynis Kazanjian, Glynis@MarylandReporter.com
Larry Hogan Jr., the Republican nominee for governor, said his Democratic opponent, Anthony Brown, is suddenly changing his campaign message to match Hogans, because polls are showing a message of tax relief is resonating with Maryland voters.
The [Brown] campaign has changed its message to my message, Hogan said during a political forum at the Bnai Israel Congregation in Rockville Sunday. Brown now says he agrees with me on tax relief. I dont think a lot of people are going to believe in his last minute conversion.
Taxes have been a leading issue for Hogan in the governors race. Hogan believes it is because of his message to roll back some of the 40 new taxes and fees incurred during the OMalley-Brown administration that voters in heavily Democratic Maryland have begun paying attention to him.
A Baltimore Sun poll now shows a 7 point race, with Brown leading Hogan 49% to 42%. The poll also found that Hogan supporters are more likely to come out to vote and other voters remain undecided.
Senate president would cooperate, Hogan says
During the forum Hogan said if he wins, he will have the cooperation of Senate President Mike Miller.
The president of the Senate recently said he thought there was a chance I might be elected governor, Hogan said when asked how he could accomplish some of his policy goals while working with a Democratic legislature. He promised to work in a bi-partisan fashion with me to get things done for the good of the state. His word is good enough for me.
Hogan, a former Ehrlich administration appointments secretary, said he has experience working across party lines. During his tenure as appointments secretary Hogan said he was able to get 1,839 out of 1,870 people unanimously appointed that required Senate confirmation.
Asked by the moderator how his positions differ from Gov. Martin OMalley, Brown offered few specifics, other than to say they had dissimilar backgrounds, especially Browns immigrant parents and his military service, but they shared the same values: Good schools, safe neighborhoods, a clean environment and access to affordable, quality healthcare.
The two gubernatorial candidates will face off Monday at 10 a.m. on News Channel 8 with anchor Bruce DePuyt.
Two undecided voters, however, have already made their minds up.
I am a registered Democrat but Im voting Republican, absolutely, Denise Berman, a Gaithersburg resident said at the forum. I think [Hogan's] the best candidate to try and change the states mentality. We need to have more diverse opinion in government and we need to have representation from both sides.
I knew he couldnt be as bad as his opponents made him out to be in the commercials theyve made, said Gail Libin of Rockville, a registered independent. I was really concerned about his position on abortion and other female related issues. He came across a lot more positive than I anticipated.