“I’m not going to say I won’t run in the future,” Hogan said of a presidential run in an interview. ”A lot of people are talking to me about 2024 being a possibility. We won one of the biggest victories in very tough state in a very tough year. People are keeping an eye on what we’re doing here. Are we going to be a bigger tent party or a smaller tent party? That could involve a future run but maybe it won’t.”
Instead of launching a 2020 campaign, Hogan said, he will start a national advocacy organization called “An America United.”
He said the group would be modeled off his Change Maryland organization, which railed on social media against high taxes and helped launch his successful run for governor.
“An America United” would focus on ending partisan division, Hogan said. He said he also saw it as carrying a bipartisan, centrist message that could help open up the GOP to more diverse supporters.
He said the group would not be involved in lobbying. The group’s website, which features biographical information about Hogan along with positive editorials about his time as governor, says Hogan will use the organization to reject “the extremes of both political parties.”
“I want to have a future in the Republican Party,” Hogan said. “More importantly, I want the Republican Party to have a future. I believe in a bigger tent.”
Hogan, 63, considered a run against Trump for months but took few concrete steps to begin a campaign.
The governor said he made the decision not to run after consulting with his family last week at the beach in Ocean City.
“I watched the sun rise over the ocean. We took the grandkids on some rides. Had some french fries and ice cream. Had a few cocktails. I tried to take my mind off things,” Hogan said. “Sometimes when you’re not focused on working, things become more clear.”
Hogan said his daughters and grandchildren encouraged him to run, but his wife, Yumi, told him she thought that was a bad idea.
“My wife is very practical. She gave very good advice. She keeps me grounded,” Hogan said. “She said, ‘You just got reelected. You’ve got so much more to do. You’ve got to stay focused.”
Although filing deadlines aren’t for months, Hogan said, he didn’t want to mislead supporters or “have them waste their time and energy.”
“I didn’t want the people of the state to think I took too much time to decide and wasn’t focused on the job here,” Hogan said.
Next month, Hogan will become chairman of the National Governors Association. He is currently the vice chairman.
Hogan said that role will prevent him from endorsing Trump or any other candidate in the race. He said he wouldn’t be able to become chairman if he ran.
“That precludes me from partisan politics,” Hogan said. “I don’t want to miss that opportunity either. The governors, Republicans and Democrats, are actually getting things done in their states.”
Back at work this week, Hogan will deliver his fifth annual State of Business Address at Arundel Mills on Tuesday. On Wednesday, he will preside over the Board of Public Works meeting, where the panel will vote on moving forward his proposal to add express toll lanes on the Capital Beltway and Interstate 270 between Washington and Frederick.
Critics deride the governor’s plan as creating “Lexus Lanes” that will only be used by the rich, while potentially seizing homes and private property in the area to widen the highways. But the governor argues the plan benefits taxpayers who are sitting in “soul crushing traffic,” because the highway expansion would be paid for by private developers, who would then collect the toll revenue.
According to a recent Washington Post poll, 61 percent of D.C.-area residents favor Hogan’s express toll lane plan.
Hogan said he wants to focus on pursuing his second-term agenda, which includes tax cuts, increased oversight of local school systems and a nonpartisan commission to redistrict Maryland after the 2020 census.
“We have an entire agenda we want to get done,” Hogan said.
Before deciding not to run in 2020, Hogan traveled to New Hampshire to speak to an influential crowd of about 100 business and political leaders at the “Politics & Eggs” speaker series — regarded as a “must” stop for presidential hopefuls — at Saint Anselm College’s New Hampshire Institute of Politics.
Some have speculated that Hogan’s efforts were really about raising his name recognition higher in hopes of pursuing a run for the U.S. Senate.
But the governor denied that Monday.
“I have no interest in the Senate,” Hogan said.