ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Larry Hogan, the former Republican governor of Maryland who has positioned himself as one of the fiercest critics of Donald Trump in his party, said Sunday he will not challenge the former president for the 2024 Republican White House nomination.
“I would never run for president to sell books or position myself for a cabinet position,” Hogan, 66, wrote in The New York Times. “I have said for a long time that securing a future for the Republican Party matters more to me than securing my own future in the Republican Party. And that is why I will not seek the Republican nomination for president.»
The move is an acknowledgment that while many in the Republican Party are considering ways to move on from the Trump era, there is little appetite among primary voters for such outspoken criticism of the former president. Other prominent Trump adversaries, including former Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, do not appear to be making any moves toward a campaign right now.
For now, that leaves Trump as the leading figure in the initial field of Republican candidates.
So far, he faces only three formal rivals: his former UN ambassador Nikki Haley, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Michigan businessman Perry Johnson. Others, including former Vice President Mike Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, may join in the coming months. Some, like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, may wait until late summer to officially announce their campaigns.
In an interview that aired on CBS’s «Face The Nation,» Hogan insisted that the prospect of running against Trump did not influence his decision.
«It’s very tough,» Hogan said. “But, you know, I beat life-threatening cancer. So Trump insulting me on Twitter no, he didn’t really scare me.»
«It’s mostly about the country and the party,» Hogan added. “It was a personal decision. It was like, I didn’t need that job. I did not need to run for another office. I was really considering it because I thought it was a public service and maybe it can make a difference.»
Hogan concluded his second term as governor in January, serving eight years in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 2-to-1 margin. He was the second Republican governor of Maryland to be re-elected.
Some Republicans had hoped that Hogan, emerging as the best new hope of a small group of «Never Trump Republicans,» would challenge Trump in 2020. But a year after Hogan’s 2018 re-election, he said that while he appreciated «everything the encouragement” he had received to run for president, he would not. Hogan told The Associated Press he had no interest in a «kamikaze mission.»
In the last two presidential elections, Hogan said he did not vote for Trump, the party’s nominee. Hogan said he wrote on behalf of his father, former U.S. Representative Larry Hogan Sr., in 2016 and the late President Ronald Reagan in 2020.
Hogan won his first term as governor in 2014 in surprising fashion, using public campaign finance against a better-funded candidate. Fleeing from tax concerns as a moderate Republican businessman, Hogan took advantage of the frustration of a variety of tax and fee increases over the previous eight years to take down the then-lieutenant. Governor Anthony Brown.
Hogan had never held elected office before and in his first year as governor, he focused on pocket issues. He lowered the tolls, a move he could take without the approval of the long-Democratic-controlled General Assembly. But he too was faced with challenges, including the riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015. Hogan sent in the National Guard to prevent further riots.
In June of that year, he was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but continued to work while receiving treatment. She has been in remission since November 2015.
In 2018, he became the second Republican governor in state history to win re-election, defeating former NAACP president Ben Jealous.
Hogan has long been candid about his dislike for Trump as president.
In 2020, as chairman of the National Governors Association, Hogan criticized Trump for delaying a national coronavirus testing strategy, saying the president was downplaying the threat of the virus despite dire warnings from leading national experts.
«I didn’t go out of my way to criticize the president,» Hogan said. «But unlike a lot of Republicans, I’m not the type to sit and shut up and not get up and say something if I think something is wrong.»
Describing the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, as “one of the darkest days in American history,” Hogan said Trump should have resigned or been removed from office.
“People trying to cover up January 6 like nothing is delusional. It was an assault on democracy,» Hogan told the AP late last year.
Trump and Hogan engaged in something of a proxy battle in the 2022 election. Hogan’s choice to succeed him as governor was Kelly Schulz, who was Secretary of Labor and Commerce in his administration. She lost in the Republican primary to Dan Cox, a Trump-backed state lawmaker who said President Joe Biden’s 2020 victory should not have been certified and that he tried to impeach Hogan over his pandemic policies.
Cox lost the November general election by a wide margin to Democrat Wes Moore.