Hogan Hires National Fundraiser as Trump Calls Him a ‘Total Loser’

    As he ponders his political future, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) has hired a national Republican fundraiser to help him chase federal campaign contributions from political action committees and corporations.

    Washington, D.C., lobbyists have received emails this week from Aly Higgins Wheeler, a GOP fundraiser and strategist, informing them that her firm, Wheelerhouse LLC, has a new client — Hogan.

    “Given all that has gone on in politics over the past year, I am grateful to support a political leader who works hard to unite and bring people together,” Wheeler wrote. “Notably, Governor Hogan has displayed strong leadership while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic in Maryland, as well as being the first to act and send the Maryland National Guard to DC during the January 6th assault of the Capitol.

    “I will be managing Governor Hogan’s finance operation as well as spearheading DC PAC/corporate fundraising.”

    Hogan has frequently used the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore to raise money for the Republican Governors Association, and this year’s race, on May 15, is no exception. Wheeler’s email invites donors to that fundraiser, where sponsorships can run to five or six figures: “Please let me know if you would like to join Governor Hogan at the upcoming Preakness event on May 15, or if you would like to find other ways to support him,” she wrote.

    The missive also includes a two-page “donor packet” — essentially, an online brochure — about An America United, Hogan’s political organization. That document includes laudatory quotes about Hogan from Bill Gates, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), other politicians, and news outlets.

    Prior to starting her own fundraising firm 2 1/2 years ago, Wheeler was finance director for the Townsend Group, an advertising and management company in Washington, D.C. She was also the founder and leader of Right NOW Women PAC, a fundraising organization for Republican women candidates, served as personal aide to Tonette Walker, wife of former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) during the latter’s presidential bid, and worked for the Republican National Committee and the Republican State Leadership Committee.

    But not everybody is singing Hogan’s praises.

    According to several media outlets, former President Trump, in an interview this week with national conservative commentator — and ex-Marylander — Dan Bongino, called Hogan a “RINO” and dismissed his prospects as a possible presidential contender.

    “This guy, I’ve been watching him, he’s a total loser. He hasn’t been a good governor,” Trump said. “I think he wants to run. I think I would give him less than a zero percent chance, OK?”

    Hogan’s second term as governor ends in January 2023. Some Republicans are urging him to challenge U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) next year, while others are hoping he’ll seek the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.