Gov. Larry Hogan, a popular moderate Republican from deep blue Maryland, all but formally threw his hat into the 2024 Republican presidential race on Tuesday.
Hogan told Fox News “there’s a possible road to victory, that there’s a lane and I have an opportunity” to win the GOP nomination over former President Donald Trump.
Hogan mused that Trump’s influence has diminished since leaving office, and that could allow a moderate like himself to win the New Hampshire primary.
The Maryland governor has feuded with Trump for years. Trump has repeatedly called Hogan a “RINO” (Republican in Name Only) and “one of the worst [governors] in the Country.” Trump recently endorsed the far-right Daniel Cox in the Maryland Republican gubernatorial primary over Hogan-backed Kelly Schulz.
Hogan recently fired back on NBC’s Meet the Press, and said average American voters were exhausted by the far-left and far-right.
“Trump’s influence is diminishing,” he said. “I’m on the RGA [the Republican Governors Association] executive committee. There were five different governors where Trump was attacking them. All of them won.”
“I do think there are an awful lot of people that I would call the exhausted majority of Americans who are frustrated with the far left and the far right,” Hogan said. “They want to see us go in a different direction.”
Hogan most recently made headlines in Maryland when he directed the state police to suspend the state’s concealed handgun standard for permits after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a similar law last month.
Hogan said the New York law pertaining to handguns “is virtually indistinguishable from Maryland law.” As a result, Hogan said he was directing the Maryland State Police to immediately suspend use of the standard when reviewing applications for wear and carry permits.
Mark Pennak, president of gun-rights group Maryland Shall Issue, welcomed the governor’s order.
“For the first time in decades, ordinary responsible, law-abiding citizens in Maryland will have their Second Amendment right for self-defense outside the home respected,” Pennak said in a statement.
Under prior Maryland law, a gun owner had to show a “good or substantial reason” to carry a concealed gun. That could include showing a person’s life is in danger from threats or that they work in a job that could put them in contact with people who are dangerous.
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The Horn editorial team and the Associated Press contributed to this article