After traveling to Iowa and sparking more media speculation about whether he would challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 GOP primary, Gov. Larry Hogan returned Wednesday to Maryland and said he was no closer to making a decision about his future.
While in Iowa for a National Governors Association event, Hogan was featured in 2020 campaign coverage from at least six media outlets — both national news organizations and ones based in that state.
But, Hogan said in an interview Wednesday that he wasn’t trying to raise his name recognition in a key political state.
“That really wasn’t my purpose,” Hogan said of the trip to Iowa — home of the nation’s first presidential caucuses. “We didn’t do any politicking. There was just a gaggle of reporters. They were asking a lot of questions off topic. I wasn’t really attempting to get publicity.”
Hogan is vice chairman of the National Governors Association. He said he was in Des Moines to support Montana Gov. Steve Bullock’s Good Jobs for All Americans initiative, which focuses on rural communities and mid-career workers. Bullock is chairman of the governors’ organization. Hogan met with local business associations, he said.
“It was an instructive trip where we were focused on jobs and workforce development,” Hogan said. “We heard from a lot of experts on job training and re-skilling workers and how rural broadband can really help some small, forgotten communities and towns. They’re getting really good paying jobs without college degrees. I took a lot of notes. I scribbled down a lot of ideas.”
As for considering a challenge to Trump?
“I’m not any closer or further away,” Hogan said. “It’s not really on my radar screen.”
Hogan came home to a new proposal from the Democratic leaders of Maryland’s General Assembly to boost education funding statewide by $1 billion over two years, which would begin funding the recommendations of a commission studying how to improve public schools.
“We’re taking a close look at it,” Hogan said of the legislation to begin funding the so-called Kirwan Commission’s proposals. “Many of the ideas we agree on. Many of the proposals are laudable goals and ones we’re willing to sit down and work on. I’m still a little fuzzy on how they plan to come up with a revenue stream.”
Hogan took issue with how some Democrats promoting the spending described Maryland’s schools as “woefully underfunded or terribly performing,” the governor said.
“We have some of the highest-funded schools in America and some of the best schools in America,” Hogan said.