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Larry Hogan On Leadership, Mentors And All That Talk About A White House Run

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan

Larry Hogan enjoys bipartisan support as the Republican governor of mostly Democratic Maryland. Now in the final stretch of his second and last term as chief executive of the state, Hogan’s ability to reach across party lines and willingness to speak his mind have political pundits wondering aloud about whether he might run for president in 2024.

Appearing on this week’s episode of the Walker Webcast, Hogan told host and Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker that he is definitely … committed to serving out his last year as governor.

“I'm just focused, and it may sound like spin but it's really the truth,” said Hogan, who had led his own commercial real estate firm before running for governor. “I'm going to finish focusing on being the best governor I can be. I want to give the taxpayers of Maryland their money's worth every single day and keep solving problems and making progress.”

Hogan claimed he wasn’t “even thinking” about what happens after he leaves the governor’s office on Jan. 23. 

“I've never said I wanted to run for president,” he said. “There are people asking me to consider it and I’ve said, ‘Let's just finish the job at hand.’”

Whether or not he is actually contemplating moving the 30 miles from the state capital of Annapolis to the White House, Hogan shared his thoughts with Walker on the state of the country and on his influences and experiences as a leader. 

Part of the White House buzz following Hogan might be due to his announcement last month that he would not run for U.S. Senate when his term ends. But that decision might have had as much to do with how Hogan views the current atmosphere of Capitol Hill than with any executive branch ambitions.

“Congress seems to be broken or hopelessly divided,” he said. “Occasionally, we can come together on a particular issue and get something done. But I think there's a lot of folks that spend more time worrying about how to win an argument on Twitter than trying to figure out how to reach agreement and come up with a solution to a problem that people care about.”

Hogan said he wants to be “part of the discussion” into solving political animosity and gridlock at the federal level. He noted that he was “very concerned about my Republican Party. And I'm very concerned about the country.”

Hogan, a former chairman of the National Governors Association, is known for embracing bipartisanship and being sharply critical of former President Donald Trump. Hogan comes from a line of Republicans willing to speak out against leaders of the party. Walker pointed out that Hogan’s father, Lawrence Hogan Sr., was the first Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee to call for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon during the Watergate hearings.

“I learned so much about integrity and public service from my dad,” Hogan said. “He was a loyal Republican who had supported Nixon. But after seeing all the evidence, he came to the conclusion that the president had committed impeachable offenses. And he was the first one on the House Judiciary Committee to say that and he was the only Republican to vote for all three articles of impeachment.” 

Walker & Dunlop CEO Willy Walker on the Walker Webcast.

Another big influence on Hogan was Ronald Reagan, whose own presidential ambitions Hogan supported as a young man in the 1976 presidential election — ironically, against the wishes of his father, who supported then-President Gerald Ford.

“Ronald Reagan was a guy who energized an entire generation, and he had such a positive, hopeful vision for America,” Hogan said. “He had very simple core principles about smaller government, a stronger defense, freedom and about standing up to the Soviet Union. But it was really the way he spoke — he had a wonderful sense of humor and he was inspirational.”

Hogan said he learned from Reagan that politics is an art of addition and multiplication, not subtraction and division. Recently, he added, “We have been doing a whole lot of subtracting and dividing.”

Hogan said he worked hard to add people to his coalition in both of his runs for governor, noting he won the support not only of Republican voters, but “nearly all of the independents in the state and a large chunk of discerning Democrats.”

Hogan said he has strived to be upfront with constituents and voters as governor, and that level of transparency served him well as he navigated crises such as the opioid epidemic, unrest sparked by the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore police custody, the Covid-19 pandemic and his own serious brush with cancer.

“I think you learn so much out of the times of adversity,” he said. “One thing I learned was that I try to make the most out of every day. I've only got roughly a year left in my term as governor, but I'm still working just as hard every day.”

On March 9, Walker will interview sales trainer and coaching expert Jack Daly. Register here

This article was produced in collaboration between Studio B and Walker & Dunlop. Bisnow news staff was not involved in the production of this content.

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