Larry Hogan Uses 'No Labels' and His 2014 Playbook to Push His Shadow Candidacy for President

AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Larry Hogan has become a frequent guest on television political talk shows in recent months, giving opinions about the upcoming Presidential election that are irrational, repetitive, and self-serving.   You can expect the former Maryland governor to continue this clown show because media elites find it amusing when a Republican attacks other Republicans and because Larry Hogan is happy to go along out of self-interest. This explains Hogan’s ten appearances this summer on favored media outlets CNN and CBS on shows including State of the Union and Face the Nation.  


 Hogan’s four-ball political juggling act involves repeating these points: 

  1. trash GOP candidates who gain traction prior to the 2024 primaries, 
  2. assert there are too many candidates, making it impossible for anyone but Donald Trump to win the nomination, 
  3. express hope in renewing the Republican Party, and 
  4. cite polls showing an opening for a third-party candidate, presumably himself.   

If this sounds irrational and contradictory, that’s because it is. 

Hogan’s real agenda is setting the stage for his own bid for President on the No Labels ticket. No Labels is the bipartisan third-party type of organization seeking nationwide ballot access for next year’s election. On all of these shows, the interviewer, hoping to make news, asks Hogan, who serves as national co-chair of No Labels, if he’s interested in running as a No Labels candidate, to which he leaves the option open. While the former governor claims he is currently focused on renewing the GOP, the terms of which are undefined, he is actually promoting himself as a No Labels presidential candidate.  

 Last month on CNN’s State of the Union, Hogan was asked if he would serve on a No Labels ticket, which he described as an “obligation” for the “good of the country.” 


 KASIE HUNT: “So, is this a yes?”

LARRY HOGAN: “…If Trump and Biden are the nominees, it's very likely that No Labels will get access to the ballot and will offer an alternative. And if most of the voters don't want A or B, we have an obligation to give them C, I mean, for the good of the country.”

 Hogan is interested in the good of himself, not necessarily the country, and certainly not of Republicans. When presented with options for someone who could emerge as a strong GOP nominee, possibly to Hogan’s liking, he dismisses their chances.   For example, on CBS’ Face the Nation on September 3, Hogan was asked if late entries by governors Brian Kemp of Georgia or Glenn Youngkin of Virginia could result in either becoming president. 

 ROBERT COSTA: “What about a late entry from Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia? Or Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia?”

LARRY HOGAN: “Well, it seems like the opposite of what I've been saying. You know, we've got eleven people in the race. We have six of my former gubernatorial colleagues already in the race. I'm not sure whether one or two more is going to fix the problem. “

According to Hogan, even former Congressman Will Hurd, a Trump critic who failed to make the debate stage last month, is not worthy of staying in the race. What Hogan is essentially saying is no candidate will fix his problem with Republicans. And he goes on to criticize other Republican challengers who might get traction, most recently Vivek Ramaswamy. “You know, Ramaswamy, for example, is up there being a cheerleader and a fill-in for Trump,” Hogan said on Face the Nation.  


Long before Ramaswamy’s emergence, Hogan has been a frequent critic of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump dating back to 2016. Since leaving office earlier this year and declining to run for president in the Republican primary or an open U.S. Senate seat in Maryland, the former governor has appointed himself the critic-in-chief of the GOP to boost his own political ambitions.  

If Hogan were to run in any Republican primary, nationally or statewide, he would likely face a conservative challenger who would defeat him. This is what happened to his chosen successor for governor, who lost in Maryland’s primary last year. 

Should Hogan be dismissed as a political sideshow? Not in this weird election cycle with Trump facing criminal charges, disqualification under the 14th amendment, and President Biden’s numerous issues. Hogan’s trashing of fellow Republicans before announcing as a candidate garners attention while avoiding scrutiny in mainstream media outlets. Seeking media coverage prior to officially announcing as a candidate is the same successful strategy he used to boost name ID to win election as Maryland's governor in 2014. Getting on television, particularly CNN (Rob Schneider Has Hilarious Response as CNN Hits Worst Ratings on Record in Key Demo) is easier now than it was then. 


What can be dismissed is what Hogan says, and at this point, expect more of the same. 

Jim Pettit was policy and communications director for Larry Hogan’s exploratory organization, Change Maryland, and served under former Gov. Robert Ehrlich. 



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