Will Larry Hogan challenge Donald Trump for the 2020 Republican presidential nominee?

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at the State of the State Address on Jan. 30, 2019, in Annapolis, Maryland (Photo credit: Daniel Oyefusi)

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks at the State of the State Address on Jan. 30, 2019, in Annapolis, Maryland (Photo credit: Daniel Oyefusi)

This story has been updated to include the comments of UMD College Republicans Secretary Justin Coury.

All eyes have been on the Democrats, who have many high-profile candidates vying for the 2020 presidential nomination. California Sen. Kamala Harris and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders are just some of the more well-known names in the race. But Republicans are gearing up as well.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld announced his candidacy on Feb. 15 to challenge President Donald Trump. Weld is currently Trump’s only Republican challenger. However, other Republicans are stoking speculation.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan became the first Republican governor to be re-elected in Maryland in over 60 years. Hogan campaigned for issues like maintaining safe and reliable transportation systems and restoring the Chesapeake Bay, which garnered lots of liberal support.

In an interview with CBS News on Feb. 20, Hogan said that many people have approached him about a possible presidential challenge to Trump, to which he said, “I haven’t thrown them out of my office.”

Hogan also mentioned his father, Lawrence Hogan, who was the first Republican congressman to call for Richard Nixon’s impeachment in 1974. So he’s seen his own father challenge a president of his own party.

However, in an interview with the Associated Press on Feb. 21, Hogan said, “My goal is not to just make the incumbent president lose in the general election. I’m not going to do that.”

Despite his comments, Hogan’s second inaugural speech seemed to incite more rumors.

“Let’s repudiate the debilitating politics practiced elsewhere — including just down the road in Washington — where insults substitute for debate, recriminations for negotiation, and gridlock for compromise; where the heat, finger-pointing and rancor suffocates the light, and the only result is divisiveness and dysfunction,” Hogan said.

Trump wasn’t explicitly mentioned, but the insinuation seems clear. Does Hogan have his eyes set on Washington?

Celia Richardson, a freshman journalism major from Maryland, isn’t so sure.

“So far it seems like a lot of the speculation over a possible presidential campaign comes from his supporters wanting him to run rather than him having any desire to run himself,” said Richardson, who identifies as moderately liberal.

Hogan is a part of a small group of so-called “Never Trump Republicans.” His runaway re-election and popularity in Maryland, a deep blue state, made him stand out from the group as a strong candidate to challenge Trump in 2020.

However, in that same Associated Press interview, Hogan said, “If they’re looking for someone just to be a spoiler or to throw myself on a grenade to help someone else, that’s not me. Somebody else might be motivated that way. But I’ve got a state to run.”

Richardson also highlighted the partisan tensions in our political environment as a result of Trump’s tenure.

“It’s possible that people are announcing runs slightly earlier just because it is such a high stakes election,” Richardson said. “Trump is so unpopular, the Democrats taking the presidency again is a big possibility, so politicians may want to get a little bit of a head start.”

UMD College Republicans Secretary Justin Coury, a junior mechanical engineering major from Maryland, doubts that Hogan will challenge Trump.

“It would be very unlikely that Gov. Hogan would win this hypothetical primary, and taking on Trump would almost guarantee the elimination of any hope for a Hogan 2024 ticket,” said Coury. “However, Hogan neither confirming nor denying wanting to run is a good way for him to get some much needed publicity if he has an eye on 2024.”

Coury, who identifies as very conservative, said that Trump’s challengers, who are primarily Democrats, hope to enact far leftist policies.

“Of course, perhaps these politicians are doubtful that they could beat Trump, but want to lead the anti-Trump charge from 2020 onward, with the hope of winning in 2024,” said Coury.

James Cirrone, a freshman journalism major from New York, doesn’t believe Hogan will challenge Trump.

“Mounting a primary challenge that he’s surely not going to win is a waste of political capital in my eyes,” said Cirrone, who identifies as very liberal. “If I was advising Larry Hogan, I would tell him not to run, but to continue attacking [Trump] as he’s doing now.

“Presidential campaigns spend gobs of money every cycle, and if you want to be successful you need to be in the media’s eye and you need to constantly be raising money.”

Hogan’s possible presidential bid remains purely speculation, but it isn’t completely off the table.