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From Hogan to a Trumpier Senate: Takeways from Tuesday's primaries

From Hogan to a Trumpier Senate: Takeways from Tuesday's primaries


From Hogan to a Trumpier Senate: Takeways from Tuesday's primaries

Voters in several states, including Maryland and West Virginia, chose nominees Tuesday in critical races that could decide the balance of power on Capitol Hill next year.

Maryland's former Republican governor, Larry Hogan, easily won his party's nomination for the U.S. Senate seat opened by Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin's retirement. The Senate race in the solidly Democratic state would normally be a snoozer, but Hogan is a candidate unlike any other Republican.

Over his two terms as governor, Hogan won a significant number of Democratic votes and remained popular among a wide swath of the left-leaning state. He's been a sharp Trump critic, which endears him to a segment of the Democratic electorate and can blunt attacks from the left. That's why Senate Republicans wooed him relentlessly to run for the newly open seat, as part of their plan to flip control of the chamber from Democrats, who currently have a two-seat majority.

Meanwhile, the biggest shift in the U.S. Senate may have already happened Tuesday night, when West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice formally won the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin.

Manchin was a centrist Democrat who was a lightning rod for the left and the right but survived politically as his state shifted far to the right. It's likely that he was the only Democrat who could win a senate election in the state and that now Justice will replace him.

That'll swing the Senate even more in Trump's direction, regardless of whether the GOP flips additional seats to give it 50 or more senators. Trump endorsed Justice, a wealthy coal magnate-turned-Democratic politician-turned-Republican whose folksy demeanor and omnipresent English bulldog — named Babydog — endeared him to West Virginia's voters.