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Larry Hogan launches first Maryland Senate general-election ad, focused on abortion

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Larry Hogan is taking to the airwaves in his latest attempt to neutralize Democratic attacks on his abortion-rights record.

The former Maryland governor had declined to fully elaborate exactly where he stood on the issue during his state’s Senate GOP primary. And in the week since Hogan won his party’s Senate primary, he’s repeatedly sought to clarify his stance, directly addressing abortion in his first major speech as the nominee, in interviews — and now on TV.

Hogan’s first general election ad is set to air Wednesday, and it’s entirely about abortion. In it, the former governor goes direct-to-camera as he endorses codifying the abortion protections the nation had under Roe v. Wade.

“With Roe overturned, many have asked what I’ll do in the United States Senate,” he says in the ad. “I’ll support legislation that makes Roe the law of the land in every state, so every woman can make her own choice.”

The 30-second spot, shared first with POLITICO, is part of a more than $1 million buy and will air on cable, broadcast and digital platforms in the Baltimore and Washington, D.C., media markets. It’s the latest move in a bid by Hogan to defang abortion-rights-centered attacks that Democrats have wielded against Republicans since the fall of Roe.

Hogan will face Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, who won a contentious Democratic primary. Alsobrooks and her allies have already begun attacking Hogan’s record on abortion, pointing toward his gubernatorial veto of a law that would have expanded access to the procedure in the state.

Their goal is to nationalize the race, reminding voters that Hogan would caucus with the GOP and vote to confirm judges who could determine the future of abortion.

Hogan faces the daunting task of winning the Senate seat while sharing a ballot with former President Donald Trump, in a state the former president lost handily in 2020 and is expected to lose again this year. To do so, Hogan will have to both distinguish himself from Trump and appeal to Maryland’s more liberal-leaning electorate.

Democrats have already excoriated him for what they describe as political expediency. In a video last week, Alsobrooks’ campaign cut tape of Hogan saying he would caucus with Republicans in the Senate and of him dodging questions on federal abortion policy.

Asked by Axios in March if he would be willing to codify Roe, Hogan promised he would “take a look at that as we move forward” — an answer that he himself described as not “a yes or no.”

With the primary behind him, Hogan is far more willing to specify his policy preferences and positions, and he’s focused on abortion.

“To the women of Maryland, you have my word — I will continue to protect your right to make your own reproductive health decisions,” he said in his primary victory speech.

Two days later, he outlined his new position in an interview with The New York Times, in which he also described himself as “pro-choice.” Hogan has said that his position evolved as the abortion landscape has changed.

In the spot airing Wednesday, he reminds voters that as governor he kept his word to “uphold Maryland law on abortion while providing over the counter birth control covered by insurance.”