This week we finally learned the official answer to the question that absolutely nobody was asking outside of some bored journalists looking to fill air time or column inches. Is Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan going to rush in and primary the President to save America from the Bad Orange Man? That’s going to be a hard nope, folks. Not that he was ever seriously considering it, of course.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Saturday he will not be challenging President Donald Trump in a Republican primary in the 2020 election.
Hogan, the popular GOP governor in his second term governing a blue state, said that instead of running he would be launching a national nonprofit advocacy organization called “An America United.”
“I truly appreciate all of the encouragement I received from people around the nation urging me to consider making a run for President in 2020,” Hogan said in a statement. “However, I will not be a candidate. Instead, I am dedicated to serving my second-term as Maryland Governor and in my new role leading America’s governors as the incoming Chairman of the National Governors Association
Not entirely sure what this new An America United group is designed to do, but it definitely doesn’t look like a platform designed to launch a later presidential bid. It might just be a policy wonk-shop.
But that’s not the real news here. Hogan is officially taking himself out of the running in terms of taking on President Trump in a primary bid. The thing is, though, he was never really in the running to begin with. I never once heard Hogan bring up the subject on his own. When these rumors started circulating a few months ago, here’s what I said on the subject.
But even for all that, let’s keep in mind that Hogan was once again asked the question(s) by reporters. He didn’t call a presser to suggest he was forming a national campaign team or announcing anything. He’s being egged on by a liberal press corps that would dearly love to see a centrist Republican try to divide the party by starting a civil war with Trump.
Yes, Hogan did go to New Hampshire and answer a reporter’s question by saying that he was going to travel around and listen to what people had to say about a possible POTUS run. But he never did anything one would expect from a person looking to possibly build a national campaign. Not only was there never an exploratory committee, but there was also zero fundraising for a national race going on and no additional staffing.
I’m sure Hogan enjoyed hearing people speculating and dropping his name in terms of possibly holding the most powerful position on the planet. It’s flattering, I’m sure. But I have no doubt he also realizes that he was facing a choice between two very clear and different futures. He could make a run at Trump and be utterly destroyed by a primary base that has no interest in changing candidates, effectively ending his political career with a huge mark in the loss column. (Kind of like Kasich.) It’s an embarrassing way to head for the exits.
Or, conversely, he could go back home as one of the most popular governors in the country, take over the NGA and feather his nest for any future projects he may have in mind. Looking at it in those terms, it was likely never a very tough choice at all.