Larry Hogan, the governor of Maryland, reportedly is considering running against President Trump for the Republican nomination. According to Politico, “the second-term Maryland governor has been implicitly going after Trump in speeches, meeting with Never Trump Republicans, and planning a March trip to Iowa as vice chair of the National Governors Association.”
Hogan is an old fashioned “good government Republicans” and a political centrist. That’s fine for a Republican governor of a blue state. As a Marylander, I’m happy with Hogan as our governor.
But if Hogan were in the Senate, he’d probably be the most left-leaning Republican member. For conservatives, his middle name would be RINO.
Are Republicans seriously going to consider nominating a “RINO”? I don’t think so. They haven’t done so in my lifetime (No, John McCain wasn’t one. His lifetime ACU rating was above 80 percent).
One can imagine a scenario in which Trump’s support among Republicans collapses to the point that he’s vulnerable to being denied the nomination. But in that scenario, a conservative candidate or two would enter the fray. If the nomination didn’t go to Trump, it would go to a conservative alternative, not to Hogan.
For me, the real question is why Hogan would even consider challenging Trump. Here in Maryland, he’s probably as close to a beloved public figure as a modern politician can be. Why would he want to spend next fall and winter traipsing around Iowa and New Hampshire in a quixotic campaign that might make him a laughingstock?
Perhaps Hogan considers it his patriotic duty to do what he can to deny Trump the nomination. But that duty wouldn’t be well-served by a futile act.
If Hogan really is hell-bent on denying Trump the nomination, he should be thinking about how to induce a more conservative Republican to mount a challenge. But my preference is that he devote all of his political energy to performing the job Maryland voters elected him to do.