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Emphasizing continuity, Gov. Larry Hogan endorses Kelly Schulz to ‘continue the legacy’ as next governor

Outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan has thrown his official endorsement behind fellow Republican Kelly Schulz for Maryland’s next governor, citing their years of close political collaboration and calling Schulz the only candidate able to “continue the legacy” of his two terms in office.

The governor’s move Tuesday to endorse Schulz, who spent seven years as a cabinet secretary under Hogan, hardly came as a surprise. Hogan, who is term-limited, has lauded Schulz’s credentials repeatedly in response to attacks from Del. Dan Cox, Schulz’s leading rival for the Republican nomination and a frequent right-wing critic of Hogan.

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Hogan touted his own approval ratings and the state’s improved economy since he first took office in 2016 while making his pitch Tuesday for Schulz to a hotel ballroom filled with supporters on the Annapolis waterfront.

Every other candidate in the crowded field for governor — nearly a dozen Democrats, three other Republicans, a Libertarian and an independent — “want to take us in a completely different direction,” Hogan said.

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“There’s only one candidate who has the experience, the ability and the desire to keep moving Maryland forward, to keep changing Maryland for the better, who can get the job done and continue the legacy,” he said.

Schulz, 53, embraced Hogan’s endorsement and framed her candidacy as a continuation of Hogan’s leadership toward a “safe, steady and prosperous” Maryland.

“We started on this journey eight years ago, but we have to be able to continue on the path,” Schulz said.

Schulz noted that, if elected, she would be the first female governor in the state’s history.

Schulz was previously a Republican state delegate representing Frederick County before serving as labor and then commerce secretary under Hogan. She resigned from the administration in January to campaign full-time.

She said her running mate for lieutenant governor, Jeff Woolford, couldn’t make Tuesday’s event because he was serving with the Maryland Air National Guard in Texas.

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Schulz echoed Hogan’s rhetoric on violent crime, raising the issue several times in brief remarks to urge harsher punishments as a solution for what she described as perhaps the most pressing issue facing the state.

“We’re going to treat the criminals like criminals,” Schulz said, “and the police officers like heroes.”

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She faces three other contenders for the Republican nomination. In addition to Cox, she faces perennial gadfly candidate — and recently disbarred attorney — Robin Ficker as well as Baltimore County resident Joe Werner.

Former President Donald Trump, who frequently traded barbs with Hogan, boosted Cox’s candidacy by offering his endorsement in November. Cox embraced Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, unsuccessfully sued Hogan to overturn emergency pandemic restrictions and filed a resolution to impeach Hogan, a stunt quickly and quietly dismissed by his fellow Republican lawmakers.

Schulz brushed aside a question Tuesday about Trump’s endorsement of her opponent and said she was more focused on having “the most popular governor” standing beside her to champion what she said were their accomplishments improving the business climate in the state.

Cox has ignored repeated messages and interview requests from The Baltimore Sun and did so again this week.

A crowded field of at least 11 Democratic candidates are currently jockeying for their party’s nomination for governor, including, among others, Comptroller Peter Franchot; Tom Perez, the former U.S. labor secretary and chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Wes Moore, an author and former nonprofit executive; former U.S. Education Secretary John King; former Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler; and Rushern Baker III, the former executive of Prince George’s County.


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