Maryland Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr. represents what is often described as a dying breed: a pragmatic, pro-business Republican known more for bland policy proposals than dramatic tweets.
But he sees himself as a “new species” of Republican who will lead the party after Donald Trump’s time in office.
Hogan spoke with Yahoo Finance senior columnist Rick Newman at the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in New York City on Thursday.
"I would argue that [my brand of politics] is the future of the Republican Party," he said. Speaking about members of both parties who pander to the extremes, he said: “That is what going to be the dying breed."
The governor has some data to back himself up. He became the 62nd governor of Maryland in 2015. He won a second term in 2018, becoming only the second Republican to be re-elected governor in Maryland’s history. Maryland has term limits for its governor, so he will leave office in January of 2023.
During his time in the state house, Hogan has made business development one of his top priorities. His official Maryland biography notes that he “took decisive action to create a more business-friendly future for Maryland by bringing tax relief, balanced budgets, and long-term fiscal responsibility to the state.”
Since taking office, Maryland’s unemployment rate has dropped from 5.4% to 3.8%. Each year, CNBC ranks the best states for business. Their results showed a rise in Maryland’s ranking from 35th in 2014 to 31st in 2019. Those years coincided with a jump from 42nd to 31st in "business friendliness."
Popular Republican governors
Hogan campaigned as a centrist and governed the same way. A 2018 poll by the Baltimore Sun found that Hogan, a Republican, enjoyed a 60% approval rating among Democratic voters. A recent Morning Consult survey found that Hogan was the second most popular governor in the U.S.
"The voters seem to like" a bipartisan approach and cooperating with the other side, Hogan said. He rattled off a list of pragmatic GOP governors in states like Massachusetts and Vermont who he thinks will take on a more important role in the party in the years ahead.
Hogan has long been a fierce critic of President Trump. He reportedly wrote in his father on his 2016 ballot instead of voting for Trump, but did attend the inauguration.
He may see himself as the future but he was hesitant on stage to challenge the president directly. He publicly considered a challenge to the president in 2020 before ultimately deciding against a run. After Trump’s attacks on Baltimore in July, he called the comments “outrageous and inappropriate.”
Thus far, Hogan has declined to get behind the impeachment inquiry against the President. During the appearance Thursday, Hogan said that he is disturbed by the facts of the case but is also concerned that Democrats have already decided he is guilty so, "How are we going to have a fair hearing?"
“We are a country of laws,” he said, adding that people are innocent until proven guilty, before adding that “no one is above the law.”
Hogan was at least playful with the question of whether he might change his mind and take on Trump. After Rick Newman asked the question, he let a long pause elapse before answering "not today" to laughter. For 2020 at least, he said, "I never thought there was much environment for a Republican challenger for Trump.”
Ben Werschkul is a producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.