Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday that he will not seek the Republican nomination for president in 2024, worried that his candidacy in a crowded primary could help former President Donald Trump clear the GOP field and win the nomination.
“I have long said that I care more about ensuring a future for the Republican Party than securing my own future in the Republican Party. That is why I will not be seeking the Republican nomination for president,” he said in a statement.
After leaving office in January, Hogan said that he was seriously considering running for president.
But on Sunday, the longtime Trump critic said that “the stakes are too high for me to risk being part of another multicar pileup that could potentially help Mr. Trump recapture the nomination.”
Trump is making his third bid for the Republican nomination in a race that has been slow to take shape. Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy entered the primary last month. Potential contenders for the GOP nomination include Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, former Vice President MIke Pence, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
In his statement Sunday, Hogan, who served two terms as Maryland governor, argued that his party needs to “move on” from Trump, and he vowed “to stay in the fight” for the direction of the GOP.
“Our nation faces great challenges; we can’t afford to be consumed by the pettiest grievances. We can push back and defeat the excesses of elitist policies on the left without resorting to angry, divisive and performative politics,” he said.
A relatively moderate Republican, Hogan has long been critical of Trump’s influence on the party and did not vote for him in 2016 or 2020.
Hogan was even seen as a potential challenger to Trump in the 2020 GOP primary but decided to instead focus on his second term as governor, acknowledging at the time that it would difficult to overcome the president’s popularity among the Republican base.
This election cycle, it’s unclear whether a Hogan candidacy would have appealed to the GOP base in a field with other more viable alternatives to Trump.
“Right now, you have Trump and DeSantis at the top of the field, soaking up all the oxygen, getting all the attention, and then a whole lot of the rest of us in single digits,” Hogan told CBS News in an interview that aired Sunday. “And the more of them you have, the less chance you have for somebody rising up.”
The Maryland Republican plans to “wait and see” how the GOP field develops before making an endorsement, his spokesperson David Weinman told CNN.
Hogan told CBS News that he could “absolutely” support Pence. The two have been friendly, and Hogan plans to attend the same foreign policy forum as the former vice president later this month in Iowa.
In interviews, Hogan hasn’t ruled out supporting DeSantis should the Florida governor run. But he has pointed out that DeSantis’ style is different from his and has been critical of the governor’s battle with Disney. Hogan also previously said on CNN that DeSantis has to appeal to a broader audience “if he wants a political future beyond Florida.”
Hogan was first elected governor in 2014, comfortably won reelection in 2018 and left office in January with high approval ratings. In recent decades, the state has been dominated by the Democratic Party at the state and federal levels. George H.W. Bush was the last Republican presidential nominee to win the Old Line State, in 1988.
Hogan faced several challenges throughout his governorship: riots in Baltimore, an unprecedented pandemic and a cancer diagnosis.
Hogan is not the first member of his family to go against his party’s standard-bearer. His father, the late former Maryland Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., was the first Republican to advocate GOP President Richard Nixon’s impeachment and the only Republican to vote for all the impeachment articles. The former governor has said that had he been in the US Senate, he would have voted to convict Trump at his 2021 impeachment trial.
In his interview with CBS News, Hogan said he believes that there’s a “big fight” for the “heart and soul of the Republican Party” and that “we’re making progress,” pointing to Trump’s drop in support among Republicans following the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol.
Trump still presents a “formidable challenge,” he said, but “a year is an eternity in politics” and the 2024 race could be completely different a year from now.
Asked if his decision not to run is an acknowledgment that Ronald Reagan’s party is fading or dead, Hogan said, “I don’t feel that way at all.”
“We certainly went off in the wrong direction. And we’re not back on track. It’s going to take a while. We’re not there yet. I would say the party of Reagan is not dead and neither is the party of Trump,” he said.
This story has been updated with additional information.