(WASHINGTON) — Former President Donald Trump makes his case as a Republican presidential candidate at CPAC.
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Sunday that he will not seek the Republican presidential nomination for 2024.
Hogan made clear that he’s not running so he can focus on defeating former President Donald Trump — and admitted that entering the primary field could split voters enough to help Trump win the nomination with a plurality, as he did in 2016.
“To once again be a successful governing party, we must move on from Donald Trump. There are several competent Republican leaders who have the potential to step up and lead. But the stakes are too high for me to risk being part of another multicar pileup that could potentially help Mr. Trump recapture the nomination,” Hogan said in a statement.
A popular Republican governor in a blue state who was term-limited out of office this year, Hogan had said he was considering a campaign to try to blunt Trump’s comeback bid for the White House. (Trump has said Hogan is a “RINO,” or Republican in name only.)
Hogan spent eight years governing Maryland, maintaining broad popularity with a balance between traditional conservatism in some instances but moderation on social policies. He also faced an overwhelmingly Democratic state legislature that served as a check, overriding vetoes on legislation regarding issues like abortion access and paid family leave.
During the Trump administration, Hogan became a vocal critic of the then-president and last year endorsed a slew of candidates in midterm races who were running counter to the “America First” populism that has swept the GOP.
In his statement on Sunday, Hogan called for a return to what he called more conventional conservative values while still appealing to the blue-collar voters Trump brought into the Republican fold, including knocking the former president on his efforts to overturn his 2020 election loss.
“An encouraging trend for Republican politics lies in the fact that the excesses of progressive elites have created the opportunity to attract more working-class voters from all different backgrounds. But many in the Republican Party falsely believe that the best way to reach these voters is through more angry, performative politics and bigger government,” Hogan said.
“I still believe in a Republican Party that stands for fiscal responsibility and getting the government off our backs and out of our pockets. I still believe in a Republican Party that celebrates entrepreneurship and economic opportunity for every American,” he said. “And I still believe in a Republican Party that upholds and honors perhaps our most sacred tradition: the peaceful transfer of power.”
Still, Hogan was defiant in an interview with CBS News on “Face the Nation,” insisting that he could have stood toe-to-toe in a primary with Trump, who rose to the 2016 nomination in part by denigrating his opponents with personal attacks.
“It would be a tough race. And he’s very tough. But, you know, I beat life-threatening cancer. So having Trump call me names on Twitter didn’t really scare me off,” Hogan said.
The current 2024 primary field remains small, with just Trump and former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as the only two major entrants.
However, several other Republicans like Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem are thought to be mulling their own campaigns.
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