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Commentary Government & Politics

Opinion: Hogan should set his sights on Andy Harris

Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and U.S. Rep. Andrew P. Harris (R) meet last summer on the Ocean City boardwalk. Now Harris appears to be trying to nudge Hogan to reopen the state’s economy. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines

By Johnathan “JJ” Smith 

The writer is a resident of Dorchester County.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned since becoming active in politics is, there is a very thin line between ego and stupidity. A perfect example of this blurred line is Governor Hogan‘s delusion that he can run and be elected president.

While Governor Hogan has remained popular as an individual, it has become increasingly clear that Hogan doesn’t have the coattails needed to reshape the Maryland Republican Party, let alone the national GOP.

Under Governor Hogan, the Maryland GOP’s “Drive for Five” state Senate seats in 2018 was a total failure, the Maryland GOP lost seats in the House of Delegates and state Senate this cycle, and his hand-picked replacement Kelly Schulz was overwhelmingly rejected by Republican voters in the state in the primary this year.

To make matters worse for Governor Hogan’s presidential ambition, he isn’t included as a contender for the 2024 Republican nomination in most national media outlets and polls. On the off-chance that he is included, the best he does is 1% of the vote in a crowded field. It is clear to me that Governor Hogan isn’t going to be taken seriously as a presidential contender.

However, if he genuinely wants to play a role in taking down the far right in the GOP, he would consider challenging Congressman Andy Harris in Maryland’s 1st District. Congressman Harris is a key piece in the fringe far-right Freedom Caucus, which has pushed the GOP to the extreme and has fueled the MAGA movement in our state.

In its current form, MD-01 will never elect a Democrat. However, Governor Hogan, with his popularity and ability to raise money, could be a serious challenger to Andy Harris. As a member of Congress, Larry Hogan would offer the conservative voters of the district a reliable vote without the baggage and ineffectiveness of Andy Harris. He would be able to get funding for the district and work with others to get legislation passed. The seat would be his as long as he wants it.

Chances are Governor Hogan’s ego will prevent him from running in MD-01, the only federal race he has a chance of winning. So let’s pull up a chair and watch Larry Hogan pass up a golden opportunity in order to chase a delusion in 2024.