ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Gov. Larry Hogan is the first Republican to win re-election in Maryland since 1954.
He has approval ratings in the high 70s, and that’s in a state where the number of registered Democrats still outnumbers Republicans by nearly 2 to 1.
So, it was no surprise that Hogan was asked about exploring the idea of running for higher office.
At Hogan’s inauguration, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush referred to Hogan’s popularity and contrasted Hogan’s reputation for bipartisanship with the rancor in Washington politics.
Bush, who called Hogan a friend and referred to the governor by his first name, told the crowd gathered at the foot of the Maryland State House on Wednesday that “Larry embodies the kind of strong, independent leadership America needs right now.”
The next day, at an announcement on Hogan’s proposed FY2020 budget, he was asked directly: Will he run for president?
His answer: “I just got sworn in 24 hours ago, I think.” And as the crowd in the reception room chuckled, he added, “I’m going to focus on that for right now. I’m not ready to make an announcement today, let’s put it that way.”
A follow-up question was asked by another reporter: Should Marylanders assume he will serve the entire four-year term as governor?
“That’s the plan,” Hogan said, adding, “but, you never know what might happen.”
At the same event, Hogan was asked about the likelihood of the Maryland General Assembly finding a way to fast-track sports betting in the state.
Hogan joked, “The odds are good that we’re going to have sports betting. Something’s going to happen in the next 83 days,” referring to the length of the session. “There’s lots of ideas, but I have no idea how it’s going to shake out.”