WASHINGTON – Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R-Md.) has not ruled out a run for the White House in the future.
Hogan, who is running for a second term in November, was asked if he would consider running for national office after serving as governor.
“I had never really given that much thought. I never really thought about running for governor but, right now, I’m focused just on getting re-elected because I think there are a lot more things we can get done in the second four years. I mean, you never say never,” he said during a recent Economic Club of Washington event. “I’m one of the most popular governors in the country and I will be chairman of the National Governors Association, but the question was only after the second term. You didn’t say anything about 2020. I mean, I’m just kidding.”
Hogan, 62, provided his analysis of whether the bipartisan approach to government he has put into practice in Maryland would be transferrable to the White House.
“I am really completely disgusted with politics as I think most people in America are – and, quite frankly, both parties are to blame. It’s this culture of divisiveness and the antagonism between the parties. It wasn’t always like that. I remember, I was just a kid, but my dad was in Congress in the ’70s. His best friends were Democrats,” he said.
“They would state their positions on the floor and they would argue eloquently, but then they would go out to dinner together or they would have a beer together. They worked out a lot of common-sense solutions. Now we hate each other, it’s name-calling, it’s throwing rocks at one another – and most Americans are sick of it. They’re sick of it in Maryland and they’re sick of it all across the country,” he added.
According to a recent Morning Consult poll, Hogan is the second-most-popular governor in the United States. Hogan attributed his popularity, in part, to his record of reaching out to Democrats for solutions to the state’s problems.
“They are mad at the president, they are mad at the Congress. Quite frankly, I think the reason [Gov.] Charlie Baker [R-Mass] and I are in the stratosphere with job approvals, even though we are in very Democratic states, is that we are doing what most people want. Most people want to put aside the partisanship. They want to stop the name-calling. You can disagree without being disagreeable. They want people to sit down and reach across the aisle and come up with real solutions,” the governor said.
“We desperately need it in Washington. Could it be transferred? I mean, it’s what should be happening in Washington, but it’s hard to do. The gerrymandering is a terrible problem that Republicans and Democrats are both guilty of. You end up with districts that are not competitive, so the most far-right Republican wins this district. The most far-left Democrat wins that district, and they go down there on opposite sides. They’ll never speak to one another,” he added.
Hogan continued, “Most people in America are somewhere in the middle. They’re moderate or they’re left-of-center or right-of-center. They are not extreme leftists and they’re no right-wing crazies. They’re somewhere in the middle and that’s where more than 70 percent of the people are. Unfortunately, that’s not who we’re getting representing us in Washington.”
Hogan said he supports reforming the primary process in Maryland, calling it a “great idea worth considering.”
“We had nine people running in the Democratic primary for governor and you had a hotly contested race for county executive,” he said. “In both cases, they elected self-described socialists – very far-left – and it’s unfortunate because I am not sure they represent a majority of the Democratic Party or certainly not a majority of the people in the state.”
Hogan’s seat is being challenged by former NAACP chairman and CEO Ben Jealous.
The governor suggested doing runoff elections like some southern states do or having open primaries.
“Right now, independents are not allowed to vote, right, and I’m for considering that as well because it shouldn’t be a tiny minority of the Democratic Party that comes out to vote in a primary, and then it’s split multiple ways and this guy who may have 5 or 10 percent of the overall vote wins the nomination. So I’m open to looking at it differently. The system doesn’t seem to be working well,” he said.
“I’m all for nonpartisan redistricting, which doesn’t help the countywide races or the statewide races, but it sure helps with members of the legislature and members of Congress if you take the politics out of it. And you don’t have elected officials choosing their constituents instead of vice versa, drawing their own districts for their own benefit. So I think we just need to look at what we can do to make the system work better, because it’s definitely broken,” he added.
Amazon is in the process of deciding where to locate their second headquarters, and Hogan said Maryland has an “excellent chance” to beat the competition and bring the company to the state.
“I think it’s a really good chance it’s going to happen. We’re on the shortlist. We had a great presentation with them. Mike Leggett and I, the county executive in Montgomery County, we’re a team, again, a bipartisan effort working together. I believe we have an excellent chance,” he said. “We’re on the very short list. They are going to make a decision by the year’s end. We put our best foot forward. We left it all on the field. We had the best, most aggressive proposal in America.”
Hogan told David Rubenstein, president of the Economic Club of Washington, “I think you’re interviewing Jeff Bezos in a few weeks. I think you should close the deal right here.”