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Outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan leaves door open for 2024 at send-off

Gov. Larry Hogan makes a point, his fingertips pressed together, with a drum set behind him.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at a gala in his honor on Nov. 30 in Baltimore. (Patrick Siebert/The Governor’s Office)

HANOVER, Md. — Outgoing Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan teased his ambitions for 2024 at a celebratory gala Wednesday night at a Maryland casino, but said he won’t announce his plans until after he leaves office in January.

Hogan and his wife, Yumi Hogan, Maryland’s first lady, later walked onstage to a band playing an instrumental cover of Sam and Dave’s “Hold on, I’m coming”, as party cannons showered his supporters in confetti. And Hogan regaled his fans with a video touting his underdog wins for governor in staunchly Democratic Maryland and lessons from his father, late Congressman Lawrence Hogan Sr., who broke with his party to support the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

“I understand there has been some speculation about the future, though I’m not going to be making any announcements tonight,” Hogan said, speaking to a crowd of hundreds of supporters packed into the Maryland LIVE! Casino just south of Baltimore. “But I think you all know that I do care very deeply about this country. I’ve never been more concerned about the direction of our nation. What I can tell you tonight is that I am not about to give up on the Republican Party or America.”

A view over the audience showing Gov. Larry Hogan in the distance in front of a large screen showing him campaigning.

Gov. Larry Hogan at the podium at the gala on Nov. 30. (Patrick Siebert/The Govvernor’s Office)

The Maryland Republican’s toying with a White House run comes as a multitude of Republican hopefuls have been emboldened to consider a 2024 bid, from former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley to Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison, following stinging losses by candidates backed by former President Donald Trump, and diminishing support for Trump as he runs for the White House for the third time.

Hogan has long held the support of establishment and moderate Republicans as one of the few successful Republicans willing to speak out against Trump at the height of his power.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogan (and other governors, like former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo) routinely grabbed the spotlight from the former president as Trump hawked spurious ideas about the outbreak from the White House press room.

Gov. Larry Hogan makes a point in front of two racks packed with rapid screening tests for COVID.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan discusses Maryland’s purchase of rapid COVID screening tests on Sept. 10, 2020, at BD Life Sciences in Sparks, Md. (Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Earlier Wednesday, Hogan hosted “fireside chats” with Republican stars including former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Trump’s former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson. He also met with high-dollar donors who, he said, urged him to stay in the running.

“We had leaders flying in from all over the country, and there’s an awful lot of people asking us to consider continuing in politics,” Hogan told reporters later Wednesday night.

But Hogan’s success in Maryland doesn’t seem transferrable to the national stage, at least among Republicans. Polling of the still-developing 2024 Republican field has found Hogan consistently winning the support of 1% or fewer voters, far behind Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The Republican candidate Hogan endorsed to succeed him as governor, Kelly Schulz, lost the gubernatorial primary to Dan Cox, who was backed by Trump, by 16 percentage points in July.

Four months later, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Wes Moore, beat Cox by a whopping 23 percentage points, elevating the first-time politico’s star on the national stage and contributing to concerns among Republicans that Trump and his picks were sinking the party’s chances in important races.