Maryland Gov. Hogan may emerge as GOP challenger

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has been named the nation’s second most popular governor, after Massachusetts’ Charlie Baker. He may take on President Donald Trump in 2020.

MANCHESTER – President Donald Trump may soon have yet another challenger in the 2020 Republican primary, as Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is testing the New Hampshire waters for a run.

“One hundred percent loyalty to our ‘dear leader’ does not sound like the traditional Republican Party,” Hogan said Tuesday while speaking during the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College Politics & Eggs event.

With Trump, the GOP has “shrunk down into a percentage of white males,” Hogan said, contrasting that to his election win of Maryland’s suburban women and one-third of African-Americans.

Last week, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld confirmed his 2020 GOP presidential candidacy. Along with Hogan, former Ohio Gov. John Kasich is also considering a run against the president.

Tuesday, Hogan said he is seriously considering a bid, and has already visited 10 states. However, he sees no reason to rush.

Early in his second term as Maryland’s governor, Hogan spoke at length about his state’s economic turnaround since his remarkable upset victory in 2014. He is only the second GOP governor in 50 years.

“Maryland is the bluest state in the country, and we were outspent five to one,” he said. Political prognosticator Nate Silver said Hogan had a 94 percent chance of losing.

Before entering politics Hogan, who is 62, started and ran several Maryland businesses, and as governor he took an economically depressed state “heading in the wrong direction,” into prosperity, he said, through bipartisan efforts to encourage business by cutting tolls, fees and taxes – getting “government off our backs and out of our pockets … while clearing away the tangle of regulatory undergrowth.”

Moreover, he did much of this while battling cancer.

Elected to a second term last year, he said he did that with the help of “voters who rejected divisive politics and voted for civility and common sense.”

As governor, he said, he and lawmakers worked for the common good.

“We argued without acrimony, compromised without political posturing … we simply practiced the art of the possible … and put people’s priorities before partisan interests,” and did not let “insults substitute for debate.”

Contrasting that to dysfunction in Washington, D.C., he called the nation’s capital a place where “getting something done for the people is no longer a priority … neither side seems to want to make progress, while most of the country is “sick and tired of all that drama.”

During the question and answer session, Hogan said he does not agree with the Republican National Committee’s decision to back the current president.

According to a University of New Hampshire poll released this week, Hogan has a long way to go with likely Granite State Republican voters in the 2020 primary. That current polling shows:

• Trump, 76 percent

• Kasich, 10 percent

• Weld, 5 percent

• Hogan, 1 percent

• undecided, 8 percent.

“I felt it was important to do my part to bring a little political diversity to Politics & Eggs,” Hogan joked at the Tuesday breakfast, as five Democrats have been the featured speakers so far this year.

Hogan said other Republicans should enter the race, as he wants to make the Republican Party a bigger tent.

Politics & Eggs was created by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College as a way to bring politicians to the state’s business community.

Kathy Cleveland may be reached at 673-3100, or at