According to internal polling obtained by the Washington Free Beacon, 88 percent of black voters support Maryland governor Larry Hogan's (R.) effort to "re-fund the police," an initiative state Democrats denounced as "divisive" and "misguided."
The poll, which was provided by an outside group aligned with Hogan, shows that 64 percent of likely black voters in the state "strongly support" the governor's proposal to "provide greatly increased funding to state and local police agencies," while 24 percent "somewhat support" the policy. Hogan's initiative enjoys similar support across racial lines—89 and 74 percent of white and Hispanic voters support it, respectively.
Those numbers contradict state Democrats' criticism of the plan. After Hogan announced his proposal to invest an additional $150 million into local and state police, state house speaker Adrienne Jones (D.) accused the Republican of working to "politicize" public safety.
"The governor's misguided rhetoric of ‘re-fund the police' is beneath him and the dignity of his office," Jones said in October. State senate president Bill Ferguson (D.) launched a similar attack, calling Hogan's plan nothing but "divisive rhetoric" that would not make communities safer.
Neither Jones nor Ferguson returned requests for comment.
In addition to his plan to increase police funding, Hogan said Tuesday he will introduce two emergency bills to combat violent crime in Baltimore. The move comes one week after the city experienced its 300th homicide for the seventh year in a row—victims include a 69-year-old woman who was stabbed to death inside a church, a 5-year-old girl, and a 13-year-old girl.
"People are being shot nearly every single day in Baltimore City, and we all have an obligation to do something about it right now," Hogan said in a statement. "With all of the actions we have announced today, I want those families and all of the victims of this violence to know that we will not stop pursuing those criminals who are terrorizing our community."
One of Hogan's bills, the Violent Firearms Offender Act, "significantly toughens" criminal penalties for those who "use and illegally possess firearms." Hogan's Judicial Transparency Act, meanwhile, requires the state's criminal sentencing commission to "track and publish detailed information on the sentences that are handed down by judges for violent crimes."
Maryland voters overwhelmingly support both policies, internal polling shows—81 percent back the Violent Firearms Offender Act, while 84 percent back the Judicial Transparency Act. Still, state Democrats blocked the legislative package in both 2020 and 2021, even as Baltimore's mayor begged residents not to "clog up our hospitals and beds" with shooting victims during the coronavirus pandemic.
During his Tuesday press conference, Hogan also announced a review of state funds provided to Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, one of many progressive prosecutors across the country with ties to liberal billionaire George Soros. Homicides have skyrocketed since Mosby took office in 2015, and she will now have to provide data on cases her office chose not to prosecute in order to see its funding returned.
"As I have repeatedly said, we also need a prosecutor who will actually prosecute violent criminals," Hogan said Tuesday. Mosby's office responded by pointing the Free Beacon to a statement that called the Republican's press conference "a political stunt with no basis whatsoever."