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Trump Challenge 'Not Something I'm Actively Considering,' MD Gov. Hogan Tells Newsmax

Trump Challenge 'Not Something I'm Actively Considering,' MD Gov. Hogan Tells Newsmax
John Gizzi (left) interviews Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan during the National Governors Association meeting.

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Sunday, 24 February 2019 10:52 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Saturday quashed growing rumors he plans to challenge President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries next year.

“The honest truth is I have not thought about it at all,” Hogan told Newsmax in an interview at the National Governors Association (NGA) meeting in Washington, “It’s not something I’m actively considering or that I really gave any consideration to.”

Hogan, vice-chairman of the NGA, was by far its most-reported-on governor during the organization’s weekend meeting. In a wide-ranging interview, he discussed national politics as well as his own passion for Republicans reaching out to minorities for votes and Democrats to enact policy.

Three months ago, Hogan, 62, made history in heavily Democratic Maryland by becoming only its second Republican governor ever to be re-elected. He did so with a comfortable 55 percent of the vote — in the process winning roughly half the Hispanic vote, a majority among Asian-American voters (“People give a lot of credit to my wife Yumi, who’s Korean-American”), and one-third of the black vote. 

(The last figure is particularly impressive, as Hogan’s Democratic opponent Ben Jealous is black and a past national president of the NAACP).

Following his re-election, talk began almost immediately about a prospective challenge to Trump — in spite of the fact that polls almost universally show President Trump with a 90 percent approval rating among registered Republican voters.

“The truth is there are people who are concerned about whether the party is reaching a wide enough audience,” Hogan explained, “and they ask ‘Are we heading in the right direction?’ and  ‘Should we have an alternative [to Trump]?’ [They were] approaching me and I never said yes to anyone.  I never said I was even going to think about it.”

As to just who these “people” are, Hogan isn’t naming names.  He simply described them as ”a plethora of people who are longtime Republican Party leaders, people who have been involved a long time, thought leaders, contributors.”

He did say that “some elected officials have discussed the idea with me. They are from outside Maryland and you’d know them.”

The Free State governor said these people “told me will you rule it out categorically?’ I said ‘You never say never.’ The election is 20 months off and I just don’t know what the future holds or what will happen.”    

But, he quickly added, a presidential bid “is just not something I’m actually pursuing or giving a whole lot of active consideration to.”

Presidential candidate or not, Hogan made clear his distaste for his party officials discussing changing the rules to make a challenge to Trump less possible.

“I’m concerned about some of the heavy-handedness from the Trump campaign folks about changing some of the rules,” he said, admitting that much of this is still in the talking stage.

In South Carolina, Hogan noted, “they are talking about eliminating the primary. There is talk about eliminating debates across the country in the primaries. They are working at multiple levels to tighten up the rules so you couldn’t possibly have a real primary challenge.”

Recalling the 2016 Democratic race, the governor pointed out that “we went through this on the Democratic side when they were skewering it in favor of Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders. 

Well, this was way more aggressive if we’re eliminating any debate or eliminating primaries.”

Underscoring his point, Hogan told us “many of my [party] colleagues—Republican donors and Republican elected officials—thought it was pretty heavy handed.”

Hogan governs a state in which registered Republicans number only 26 percent of the electorate and Democrats have controlled two-thirds of both legislative chambers since 1923.  Nevertheless, he said, “We made a lot of progress.  We cut taxes four years in a row by $1.2 billion.  We have eight tax cut proposals before the legislature now.  We’ve turned our economy around.  We went from an economic performance of 49 out of 50 states to being one of the top ten states that is good for business.” 

How does he do it in such a hostile political climate?  Part of it is the excellent relationship he has with State Senate President Thomas V. Miller, a Democrat who knew Hogan’s congressman-father and whom the governor has known “since I was a pretty young kid.”

But the major reason Hogan feels he gets results out a legislature in which Democrats so outflank his fellow Republicans is his belief “ regardless of party, the average person wants their government to be effective and get things done.  And they like things getting done in a bipartisan, common-sense way.  They just want people to fix the problems.  They’re not ideological and they don’t like divisive politics on either side of the aisle.” 

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

© 2019 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

   
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Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Saturday quashed growing rumors he plans to challenge President Donald Trump in the Republican primaries next year.
trump, hogan, nga, republican, rnc, primary
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2019-52-24
Sunday, 24 February 2019 10:52 PM
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