There is a dwindling number of undeclared politicians waiting in the wings who might yet mount a bid to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.
Among Democrats, Stacey Abrams, who lost her bid last year to become Georgia’s governor, is said to still be mulling a run. Former Starbucks CEO and billionaire Howard Schultz has not formally ruled out tossing his hat into the ring as a self-funded independent — even though Democrats howled when he floated the idea of a presidential candidacy, terrified that he might siphon away just enough votes from a Democratic challenger to hand Trump a second term.
Taking himself definitively out of contention on Saturday was one of the few Republicans said to have been seriously considering challenging Trump.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD), one of the best hopes of traditional, centrist Republicans, made it known in an interview with The Washington Post that he would not be mounting a bid for the White House next year.
“I’m not going to be a candidate for president in 2020,” Hogan, 63, said. “I have a commitment to the six million people of Maryland and a lot of work to do, things we haven’t completed,” he told the daily.
Hogan said he would continue to be a vocal critic of the party, and of the president, when need be.
“We need to have a bigger tent and find a way to get things done,” Hogan said. “We need some civility and bipartisanship. Our politics are broken. Washington is broken.”
Hogan is a second-term governor, a rare Republican winning election — and then re-election — to lead a state as decidedly blue as Maryland. He defeated Democrat and civil rights activist Ben Jealous, a former head of the NAACP, to win a second term last November.
Many middle-of-the-road Republicans will be disappointed by Hogan’s decision. Some had been hoping someone would rise up to challenge the president, and perhaps restore the party’s conventional values and norms.
For their part, Democrats had hoped a strong primary challenger might weaken the president, at a time when the economy is strong and support from his base seems to have been unshaken by scandal and investigation.
Former Ohio governor John Kasich was also seen as a Republican who might mount a challenge against Trump, but he ruled that out during an appearance on CNN on Friday.
“There is no path right now for me. I don’t see a way to get there,” the Ohio Republican said. “Ninety percent of the Republican party supports [Trump]. It may be a shrinking Republican party, but nevertheless … There is not a path,” said Kasich who lost his past bids for the nomination.
“There’s not the support for so maybe somebody wants to run and make a statement. That’s fine, but I have never gotten involved in a political race where I didn’t think I could win,” Kasich said.
Former Massachusetts governor Bill Weld — the lone declared GOP challenger to Trump — announced his campaign in April. But Weld, who last won an election in 1994, is seen as somewhat on the party fringes after running for vice president on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2016. Nevertheless, Hogan said he would “take a look” at supporting Weld, although he has not made a decision on whether he will endorse him.
In recent days, there has been some speculation that Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) might be considering a presidential run. Amash created a stir last week with a tweet storm in which he articulated why President Trump should be impeached — the only sitting Republican in Congress to publicly make that case.
Hogan announced plans this week to launch an advocacy group, An America United, to “transcend partisanship” and work across partisan boundaries, something he said is sorely needed as Republican Party looks beyond the incumbent president.
“I believe there’s going to be a future in the Republican Party beyond President Trump,” Hogan told the Post.
“It’s either going to be next year or four years later. But at some point we’re going to be looking for what the future is going to be like.”