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Larry Hogan's Maryland farewell nods to priorities in his likely run for president in 2024

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, right, is greeted by supporters after he gave his farewell speech at the Maryland statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Julio Cortez/AP
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, right, is greeted by supporters after he gave his farewell speech at the Maryland statehouse, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Eight years ago, Larry Hogan’s stunning upset victory during the November 2014 gubernatorial election in Maryland offered the Republican his first ever stint in elected office. At the time, because of his lack of political experience, the biggest question in Maryland political circles was about what type of governor he might be. Now, Hogan is prepared to leave his post as governor as a popular GOP politician in what is otherwisea state whereregistered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans roughly two to one.

Such an equation naturally would garner national political interest, and Hogan has not shied away from the attention. He used his farewell address as governor in Annapolis on Tuesday to only reinforce his national profile as he decides whether to run for president in 2024.

Officially, Hogan will relinquish his office duties on Jan. 18, when Democrat Wes Moore is inaugurated as Maryland’s new governor.

Speaking from the old Senate chamber in the Maryland State House where George Washington famously resigned his commission in the Continental Army in 1783, Hogan’s roughly 12-minute speech was full of gratitude and touting of his administration’s accomplishments, and eventually a quote from the man whose statue stood behind him.

After thanking his wife and those who served in his administration, the Republican went heavy on building up his record as governor, though his remarks were short on details.

“These last eight years have been a time of great accomplishment for our state,” Hogan said. “To put it simply, we did exactly what we said we would do, and I can honestly say that I finish my second term with no regrets.”

He did urge lawmakers to address Baltimore City’s homicide rate and accountability for local school systems. Hogan’s party won’t have a big say in how that will be done, as his own electoral success and popularity did not translate down the ballot to his fellow Republicans.

In 2018, when Hogan was increasing his own victory margin from four years earlier, the GOP was not able to put a dent in the Democratic majorities in both the state senate and house. Republican incumbents also lost county executive races that year in both Anne Arundel and Howard counties.

In 2022, Hogan’s endorsed successor Kelly Schulz lost the GOP primary to replace him. Beyond that, the Maryland Republican party’s nominee Dan Cox — whom Hogan did not support in the general election — was handily defeated by Democrat Moore.

During his two terms as governor, Hogan carefully crafted his political image as an alternative within the Republican party to former President Donald Trump.

And his farewell address echoed the themes he’s built, and would likely be at the center of his expected presidential run.

“Toxic politics will not restore America,” Hogan said. “Only real leadership will do that.”

He then quoted the man whose statue stood behind him as he spoke.

“In his farewell address as he completed his second term, President Washington warned Americans that left unchecked, partisanship would foster ‘a spirit of revenge’ and lead to the ‘ruins of liberty’,” he said.

Missed the speech? Want to watch it again here.

Matt Bush spent 14 years in public radio prior to coming to WYPR as news director in October 2022. From 2008 to 2016, he worked at Washington D.C.’s NPR affiliate, WAMU, where he was the station’s Maryland reporter. He covered the Maryland General Assembly for six years (alongside several WYPR reporters in the statehouse radio bullpen) as well as both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. @MattBushMD
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