BALTIMORE (AP) — President-elect Donald Trump found little support in Maryland, where even the Republican governor disavowed him. Now Maryland officials hope long-running benefits from the state’s proximity to the nation’s capital won’t suffer under a Trump administration.
Maryland has long benefited from federal grants, agency headquarters and other federal largesse. Its suburbs are populated with federal workers uncertain about their jobs if the new president cuts back amid promises to “drain the swamp” of Washington. Between Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Maryland Democrats, if there’s any place where a state’s power structure didn’t support Trump, it’s Maryland.
Hillary Clinton won Maryland’s 10 electoral votes with 60 percent of the vote, while 35 percent of the vote went for Trump. Both of the state’s senators are Democrats, as well as seven of Maryland’s eight U.S. House members. The state’s House incumbents seeking re-election cruised to easy victories on Tuesday.
Rep. Andy Harris, the state’s lone Republican congressman who was the president elect’s only supporter in Maryland’s congressional delegation, said he’s confident the state’s defense industry and bases will benefit, because of Trump’s pledge to strengthen the military, even if it comes at the expense of some other government agencies. Maryland is home to Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin, Linthicum-based Northrop Grumman and large military bases such as Fort Meade and Naval Air Station Patuxent River.
The state’s economy is closely linked to the federal government. The state was home to about 314,300 federal workers and service members in 2010, according to a 2012 state report, and 218,416 were employed in the state. Federal workers employed in Maryland in 2010 contributed $27.3 billion to the state’s gross domestic product, or about 10 percent of the total.
“So, it’s possible some agencies will be cut back, but I think in general since Maryland has a lot of defense and defense-related industry I think on balance it could work out pretty well,” Harris said Friday.
Harris also said he didn’t believe federal workers should be rattled by Trump’s “drain the swamp” comments.
“I think what Mr. Trump refers to as the swamp is not the federal workforce,” Harris said, adding that he thinks the president-elect is referring to special interest lobbying and “the very crony conditions that exist” in Washington.
Hogan, who highlighted his decision months ago not to support Trump by noting in October that “a lot of other people are now joining that bandwagon,” ended up writing in his father Lawrence Hogan — a former congressman — for president. On Wednesday, he congratulated Trump in a statement.
“I don’t want to speculate on what could happen,” Hogan said Friday, when asked how a Trump presidency could affect Maryland. “It could be great for the state.”
Another topic on the minds of Maryland officials is how the election could affect the prospects of drawing the new FBI headquarters to the state. Three potential sites have been chosen after a search — two in Maryland and one in Virginia. The new facility is expected to be 2.1 million square feet, and it will accommodate an estimated 11,055 employees.
Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat who will be Maryland’s senior senator when Sen. Barbara Mikulski retires next year, said he remains optimistic the FBI will move to Maryland.
“Reason: we have the best location,” Cardin said, a day after the election. “From the point of view of the taxpayers of this country, it’s no competition with Virginia.”
Hogan said he believed Trump’s victory actually makes Maryland chances of landing the FBI headquarters “kind of a slam dunk at this point.” Clinton’s running mate was Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been a close Clinton ally and fundraiser over the years.
“There was a little bit of a push at the end there by Virginia to kind of, I think, play some tricks and push it off so that the Virginia vice president and the Virginia guy who was heading up Hillary’s fundraising were going to try to pull it out from underneath of us,” Hogan said Friday. “That’s no longer going to happen, and you know I think that we were already about to win it. We had been for a couple of years, and I think things are going to turn out the way they were supposed to turn out.”
Cardin also said he’s hopeful the size of the federal workforce won’t take a hit while Trump is in the White House.
“If you look at the facts, we have the smallest federal workforce per capita in modern history,” Cardin said. “We’ve seen a significant reduction in a number of federal workers with the growth of the population in this country, so we’ve asked our federal workers to do more with less, so I don’t think it’s the size of the federal workforce which is the problem.”
Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.