Larry Hogan is not giving up on the GOP

ARUNDEL MILLS, Md. — Larry Hogan wants you to know he will work with the Democrats. He did so for eight years as the moderate Republican governor of the blue state. And it will start again if you let it. In another way perhaps. That he is not ready to discuss. Until early next year.

“I don’t really want to make long, boring political speeches because we’re going to have a great time,” Hogan told a crowd of 1,700 mostly heavily dressed supporters in a swanky event hall at Maryland Live! hotel and casino, where one of Hogan’s PACs, An America United, threw a party Wednesday ostensibly to celebrate Hogan’s tenure as governor.

Hogan, as was mentioned frequently throughout the evening, is the only Republican ever re-elected to the governorship throughout Maryland’s long history of rarely electing Republicans. Expect to hear a lot more of this stat in the coming months.

“But I understand there has been speculation about my future,” Hogan continued with a growing “wooooooo” from the audience. “I will not make any announcement tonight. My apologies to the media at the back of the room. But I think you all know that I care deeply about this country. I have never been more concerned about the direction of our nation. What I can tell you tonight is that I am not about to give up on the Republican Party or America.

On the right, only Donald Trump has announced his candidacy for president in 2024. But very soon – Hogan told reporters to expect an update once he leaves office in January – more than a dozen of speculative Republicans will make the decision to officially enter the race against Trump. In the meantime, Hogan is putting on a show of huddling with high-profile supporters and kicking off a few federal fundraising PACs, A Better Path Forward. His whole event was a preview of his potential pitch: Here’s a moderate governor who’s worked with Democrats to do things like cut taxes and create jobs (a record that will come under closer scrutiny if he runs) and who , not without consequence, will happily tear apart Trump.

“On the one hand, it’s so shameful, and more people should speak out,” Hogan said after being asked by reporters. on the latest horrific news from Mar-a-Lago: Trump’s encounter with white nationalist Nick Fuentes and Ye, better known as rapper Kanye West. “On the other hand, you know, you have to stop talking about Donald Trump.”

And many Republicans already have, according to Hogan, who sees Trump’s once-robust base withering. “There was a time when almost 90% of the main base supported Trump. Right now it’s around 30% and I think it’s going to keep going down,” he said.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan speaks to the media after a fundraising event November 30, 2022 in Arundel Mills, Maryland.

Amy Davis/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

The people who bought tickets to Hogan’s casino party, where the soundtrack was music videos celebrating Hogan and a live band playing to a piercing decibel, embraced a vision for the GOP that is reasonable and willing to work with the other side. “We don’t have a lot of that in the Republican Party these days,” said Larry Johnson, a 56-year-old who works in banking. He rolled his eyes and sighed when asked about Trump’s return to the campaign trail.

The highlight of Hogan’s political career included a nod to his father, the late Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., who was famous for being the only Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives to vote for all three articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. Hogan, 66, said his father’s example showed him that you “always put the country first, above the party”.

Hogan’s reel also ticked through the chain of whiplash events that colored his early term: a cancer diagnosis, a mandate to repeal taxes from the previous administration and unrest in Baltimore over the death of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old black man. killed in custody. Near the end of the clip, a black resident praises Hogan for overruling Baltimore Mayor and President Barack Obama by calling in the National Guard: “It took a Republican to bring people together,” the man on camera says. . “That’s what I saw.”

Maryland voters who elected Hogan weren’t keen on prolonging Republican rule in Annapolis for another four years under a far-right Republican whom Hogan called a ‘QAnon whack-job’ and refused to approve. Trump-backed candidate Dan Cox lost massively last month to Democrat Wes Moore, who will become the nation’s third elected official. Black governor. Hogan used that loss to argue that Trump’s elevation of ineligible fringe candidates was to blame for the party’s lackluster midterms. “Excuses, lies and toxic politics will not win elections or restore America,” Hogan said last month at the Republican Jewish Coalition rally in Las Vegas.

Hogan was and still is an “anti-Trump” Republican, a label that once conveyed a clear distance and distaste for what had become the mainstream GOP under Trump. But the term is less potent now that at least a dozen Republicans, seeing an opening after the near-total bombardment of Trump’s midterm candidates, are lining up to challenge Trump. Hogan may share the new anti-Trump banner with the likes of former Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, all of whom will be forced to argue that Trump no longer speaks for the party.

Hogan’s remarks were followed by a slick video that looked like something out of a campaign launch and ended with the message, “This is just the beginning.” Then a shower of confetti fell on the hall a few seconds too late.


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