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Rutherford Not Running in Maryland Is Yet Another Major RGA Recruitment Failure

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Rutherford’s Announcement Comes as Cook Political Report Shifts Race from “Toss Up” To “Lean Dem”

In a major recruitment failure for the RGA, Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, who was “best-positioned to offer himself to voters in 2022 as the logical heir to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.’s legacy,” has announced he will not be seeking the Republican nomination for governor. 

This comes as Larry Hogan’s approval is taking a plunge and Cook Political Report announced today that its shifting the race for governor in Maryland from “Toss Up” to “Lean Dem,” writing: “The number one seat most likely to flip parties is the open seat in Maryland… it’s hard to see Republicans finding candidates who can have such cross-party appeal in the deep blue state.”

FiveThirtyEight and Sabato’s Crystal Ball have all also detailed how Republicans are in deep danger of losing the Maryland governor’s seat in 2022.

As a result, it’s not hard to see why Rutherford would want to avoid this race – especially as the GOP primary promises to be a brutal and crowded fight that will center around loyalty to Trump. 

Even as Maryland voted for Joe Biden over Trump by more than 30 points, the Republican base in Maryland still strongly approves of former President Trump, making potential gubernatorial candidate and Trump-supporting insurrectionist Congressman Andy Harris the de facto head of the Maryland GOP. As a sign of things to come for Maryland, the Republican primary in neighboring Virginia has been a chaotic and divisive test about loyalty to Trump’s conspiracy theories and lies. 

In addition to Maryland, the RGA is dealing with other major recruitment failures across the country, including Candice Miller in Michigan, Rep. Pete Stauber in Minnesota, Senator Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, and Mayor Erin Stewart in Connecticut, among others.

“There’s no doubt Boyd Rutherford is staying on the sidelines because he knows there will be a brutal Republican primary about loyalty to Trump – and the eventual GOP nominee will be nothing more than a sacrificial lamb,” said DGA Deputy Communications Director Sam Newton. “Overall, Rutherford’s decision is a major recruitment failure for the RGA and just the latest canary in the coal mine for Maryland Republicans.”