Barely two weeks after Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signaled his interest in a bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, his already-slim chances were dealt a potentially fatal blow Tuesday night by the results of the gubernatorial primary in his home state.
State Delegate Dan Cox, who had the all-out support of Donald Trump, defeated Hogan-endorsed Kelly Schulz, his former secretary of commerce and labor.
"Larry Hogan was humiliated by Dan Cox and Donald Trump," one top Republican in the Free State said. "Larry should have spent more time campaigning for Kelly Schulz and less time trying to drum up support in New Hampshire."
Cox, who benefited from a Trump appearance on his behalf, embraced the former president's view Joe Biden's election in 2020 was fraudulent and denounced former Vice President Mike Pence as a "traitor" for certifying the outcome of the race for Biden.
He also slammed Hogan for overseeing strict lockdown policies in Maryland while the COVID-19 pandemic was raging.
Schulz, in striking contrast, ran as supporter of termed-out Gov. Hogan, himself a frequent critic of Trump's who did not vote for the former president in 2016 or '20.
While the Democrat primary remained undecided Tuesday night, Maryland's 2-to-1 Democrat registration edge appears to make the eventual nominee a fall favorite over Cox.
But for now, experts agree Hogan's failure to deliver the GOP nomination to succeed him to anointed successor Schulz is a serious, if not fatal, blow to his presidential hopes.
"Not that Hogan would have any great chance on the national level to begin with, but the defeat of Schulz would certainly remove any doubt of that," historian David Pietrusza, author of seven books on presidential election years, told Newsmax. "And I would think that Hogan would be wise enough to then realize such a situation, though saying goodbye to presidential pretensions invariably is hard to do."
"With or without Schulz, Hogan's problem was always the primaries," professor Mark Rozell of George Mason University said. "He simply doesn't have a following among the conservative base – and, even within his home state, he is viewed with suspicion by many conservatives."
Rozell believes Hogan can still "run for president to amplify a debate within the Republican Party about the party's future direction. But given its current direction, I don't see a viable path for him to be nominated."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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