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Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Won’t Challenge Trump in 2024


ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Larry Hogan, the Republican former governor of Maryland who has positioned himself as one of his party’s fiercest critics of Donald Trump, said Sunday he would not challenge the ex-president for the GOP nomination for the White House in 2024.

“I would never run for president to sell books or position myself for cabinet,” Hogan, 66, wrote in The New York Times. “I have long said that I care more about securing a future for the Republican Party than securing my own future in the Republican Party. And that is why I will not be seeking the Republican nomination for president.

The move is an acknowledgment that while many in the GOP are considering ways out of the Trump era, there is little appetite among primary voters for such a vocal critic of the former president. Other prominent Trump opponents, including former Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, don’t appear to be making steps towards a campaign yet.

For now, that leaves Trump as the figurehead of early Republican candidates.

So far, he faces only three official challengers: his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson. Others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, could join them in the coming months. Some, like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, may wait until late summer to officially announce their campaigns.

In an interview that aired on CBS’ “Face The Nation,” Hogan insisted the prospect of rivaling Trump was not factored into his decision.

“He’s very tough,” Hogan said. “But, you know, I beat life-threatening cancer. So Trump calling me names on Twitter didn’t really scare me.

“It’s mostly about the country and the party,” Hogan added. “It was a personal decision. It felt like I didn’t need this job. I didn’t need to run for another office. It was really that I was considering this because I thought that it was a public service and maybe I could make a difference.

Hogan completed his second term as governor in January, serving for eight years in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin. He was Maryland’s second Republican governor to be reelected.

Some Republicans had hoped that Hogan, emerging as the new top prospect in a small group of “never-Trump Republicans,” would challenge Trump in 2020. But a year after Hogan won re-election in 2018, he said that while he enjoyed ” all the encouragement “he had received to run for president, he would not do it. Hogan told The Associated Press he had no interest in a “kamikaze mission.”

In the last two presidential elections, Hogan said he did not vote for Trump, the party’s nominee. Hogan said he wrote on behalf of his father, former U.S. Representative Larry Hogan Sr., in 2016 and the late President Ronald Reagan in 2020.

Hogan won his first gubernatorial term in 2014 in an upset, using public campaign funding against a better-funded candidate. Running tax concerns as a moderate Republican businessman, Hogan tapped into the frustration of a variety of tax and fee increases over the previous eight years to defeat the then-Lieutenant. Governor Anthony Brown.

Hogan had never held elected office before and during his first year as governor he focused on portfolio issues. He lowered tolls, an action he could take without the approval of the General Assembly, long controlled by Democrats. But he also faced challenges, including unrest in Baltimore after Freddie Gray died in police custody in 2015. Hogan sent in the National Guard to prevent further rioting.

In June of that year, he was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but continued to work while receiving treatment. He has been in remission since November 2015.

In 2018, he became the second Republican governor in state history to be re-elected, defeating former NAACP chairman Ben Jealous.

Hogan has long been candid about his distaste for Trump as president.

In 2020, as president of the National Governors Association, Hogan criticized Trump for delaying a national coronavirus testing strategy, saying the president was downplaying the threat of the virus despite dire warnings from top national experts.

“I didn’t go out of my way to criticize the president,” Hogan said. “But unlike a lot of Republicans, I’m not the guy who will just sit back and be quiet and not stand up and say something if I think something is wrong.”

Describing the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 as “one of the darkest days in American history”, Hogan said Trump should have resigned or been removed from office.

“People who try to whitewash January 6 as if nothing had happened are delusional. It was an attack on democracy,” Hogan told the AP late last year.

Trump and Hogan were engaged in something of a proxy battle in the 2022 election. Hogan’s choice to succeed him as governor was Kelly Schulz, who served as labor secretary and commerce secretary in his administration. She lost in the Republican primary to Trump-backed Dan Cox, a state lawmaker who said President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory should not have been certified and who sought to impeach Hogan for his pandemic policy.

Cox then lost the November general election by a wide margin to Democrat Wes Moore.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.