Comments that Republican Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan may mount a presidential campaign as an independent are being called speculative.
Hogan, who is in the final months of his second and last term as governor, is thought to be mulling a White House bid. Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford fueled talk that his running mate might leave the party for that campaign.
“We may be getting to a point where, I’m not saying a third party but independent candidates may have to run because the Republican party is at least for a lot of members of the party, voters in the party are just angry and pushing to, what I consider an extreme and we know the Democrat side, they’re being taken over by the far left agenda,” Rutherford told Bryan Nehman and former Sen. Clarence Mitchell IV on WBAL radio Wednesday morning. “I really think the country is much more in the middle. I think it’s center-right sometimes, center-left sometimes but not on the extremes that we’re seeing. Maybe there’s room for independent candidates.”
One of those candidates could be someone well-known in Maryland, Rutherford said.
“We could see an independent candidate possibly with the initials LH for president in a couple years,” Rutherford said. “That might be something that, if that happened, I’d be wholeheartedly supporting.”
Rutherford’s comments may have been just speculative and he himself characterized his musing of an independent candidate as more academic.
Hogan has taken on a more national presence in recent years after becoming the first Republican to win consecutive terms since Theodore McKeldin.
And while local and national polls show Republicans may be ready to put Trump behind them, they are not completely forsaking his hard-right bent.
In Maryland, voters rejected Kelly Schulz, Hogan’s hand-picked candidate for governor, for Del. Dan Cox, a 2020 election denier who has Trump’s endorsement.
Current conventional wisdom is that Hogan would face an uphill battle in a Republican primary where voters still seem to favor Trump or similar candidates.
Hogan in local and national media has repeatedly touted being a “life-long Republican.” He has also in recent months said that he himself has not considered leaving the party.
“As you said, it’s just speculation,” David Weinman, a spokesman for An America United, Hogan’s national political organization, said. “The Governor was as surprised as anyone to hear the LG’s comments. As he’s repeatedly said, he is focused on being governor of Maryland through next January and hasn’t decided what the future holds. He plans to continue being a voice of reason because he cares deeply about our country.”
Rutherford, on the other hand, said the extremism of his party is growing tiresome and admitted he has considered disaffiliating as a Republican.
“I will say that thought has crossed my mind,” he said.
“I do feel a need to fight a little longer and show those that are independent, reasonable-minded Democrats that there are reasonable-minded Republicans still there,” said Rutherford.”
Rutherford added that he was troubled by a statement issued Tuesday by Cox saying he would use the Maryland State Police and Maryland National Guard in unspecified circumstances against President Joseph Biden’s administration following the FBI search of Trump’s Mar-A-Lago home in Florida.
“As governor, I will use the 9th and 10th Amendments, the Maryland Constitution and Declaration of Rights, the MSP and Maryland Guard to stand against all rogue actions of this out-of-control tyrannical Biden administration with fierce tenacity,” Cox said.
“I think that’s a very irresponsible statement,” Rutherford said. “I’m very troubled because I wouldn’t want to see our national guard and our state police having to disagree with the sitting governor. I think we create an internal constitutional issue let alone the big constitution issue of a state resisting federal orders. I’m not sure what he’s thinking there.”