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Hogan decision not to run for president hits as potential supporters meet

Hogan cites risk of ‘multicar pileup’ of opponents that helps Trump

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday he would not seek the Republican presidential nomination next year.
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday he would not seek the Republican presidential nomination next year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s announcement Sunday that he will not run for president even though the Republican Party needs a candidate who isn’t former President Donald Trump came as the kind of people who might have rallied to Hogan were gathering for a summit in Washington.

In a recorded statement played Sunday at the Principles First summit at a downtown hotel — which served as a GOP counterpoint to the Conservative Political Action Conference that cheered Trump at a suburban Maryland resort — Hogan talked about the need to “put partisanship aside” and move beyond “angry divisive politics.” But he did not bring up his decision not to run for president, which he shared that morning in a CBS News interview and a New York Times op-ed.

“To once again be a successful governing party, we must move on from Donald Trump,” Hogan said in a statement. “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, a Republican who won two terms as governor in a state that also backed Democrat Joe Biden over Trump by 33 percentage points in 2020, has been critical of Trump and aligned himself with the bipartisan congressional Problem Solvers Caucus. In his statement, he said he did not want to put his family through another campaign. 

Heath Mayo, an attorney and founder of Principles First, said Hogan’s decision is “a sign of, probably, Trump’s relative strength” and a belief that splintering the opposition could help Trump ride his fervent base to the nomination again. 

“It just underscores the seriousness and the conviction that [Hogan] has around the point that he will do whatever it takes to stop Donald Trump,” Mayo said. “And I think what he was reading on the tea leaves was — if I stay in, if a lot of other people stay in and we split all this vote, there’s no chance we’re going to stop Donald Trump.”

Former Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, another Republican Trump critic who has opted not to make a run for the White House, appeared Sunday evening at the conference. He named South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott as a potential presidential candidate he was looking at, but said he was “not going to pretend to be stoked about the field of candidates” on the Republican side.

That is, he said, unless former Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, who like Kinzinger served  on the committee that investigated the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the Capitol, decided to run.

Scott has garnered much speculation and traveled to early-voting states, but has not announced he would seek the nomination.

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