Maryland’s Hogan launches book tour amid 2024 speculation

'I talk a lot about in the book dealing with the coronavirus pandemic,' he said

Gov. Larry Hogan realizes that his new book release and tour raises eyebrows about the Maryland Republican’s potential 2024 White House ambitions.

“I know that there’s speculation,” the two-term governor told Fox News on Wednesday, the day after he announced he’d kick off a virtual book tour on July 28 for his new memoir “Still Standing: Surviving Cancer, Riots, a Global Pandemic and the Toxic Politics that Divide America.”

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But Hogan – who last year grabbed attention by visiting the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire as he mulled a 2020 primary challenge against President Trump – emphasized that any possible 2024 run “really wasn’t the purpose of the book.”

“It’s really not launching any kind of campaign effort,” he stressed. “It’s far too early for that. We’ve still go 100-some days till this election and four years after that. I’ve got a pretty important day job that I’ve got to be focused on for another 31 months.”

Hogan – who currently heads the National Governors Association (NGA) – said he’s not interested in a 2022 Senate run in Maryland. But asked about his White House ambitions, the moderate Republican governor pointed out that “a lot of people have been encouraging me to consider that as they did in this current election. We haven’t ruled it out. It’s a long way off though.”

“I am governor until January of 2023 and I’ve got work left to do and I’m still enjoying leading the governors association,” he added.

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His leadership role as chair of the NGA in helping coordinate the states as they respond to the coronavirus pandemic has further raised his national profile. The 64-year-old Hogan spotlights his experience in his memoir.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan delivers a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in Annapolis, Maryland

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan delivers a briefing on the coronavirus pandemic, in Annapolis, Maryland

“I finished most of the book and turned it in on Feb. 1, just before the pandemic,” he explained. “We delayed the publication for nearly two months, which is as long as the publisher would allow us to push it off, because I didn’t want it to come out while we were so busy dealing with the state of emergency.”

He said that the publisher asked him to add some chapters about combating the coronavirus.

“I talk a lot about in the book dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and the economic crisis and dealing with the White House and chairing the nation’s governors. I think it makes for a more timely and interesting book.”

Hogan – who’s not shy about critiquing the president – told Fox News that “I haven’t hesitated to criticize when I though the president and/or the administration was not doing something that was the federal response that they should have been. I’ve been very open about that.”

But he added that “I’ve made it a point also not to just Monday morning quarterback and criticize unnecessarily in the middle of the crisis. We’re trying to work together. I’ve been pretty clear about the things I thought have gone wrong. I talk about those things a lot in the book and I talk about some of the things that went well. I’m going to continue to do everything I can to get them (the Trump administration) to work with the states and do a better job.”

Hogan’s virtual book tour will include events with former GOP Govs. Chris Christie of New Jersey, Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, and Jeb Bush of Florida, as well as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who served under President George W. Bush.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signs the famed wooden eggs during a visit to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics as he mulled a primary challenge against President Trump, in Manchester, N.H. on April 23, 2019

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan signs the famed wooden eggs during a visit to the New Hampshire Institute of Politics as he mulled a primary challenge against President Trump, in Manchester, N.H. on April 23, 2019

Hogan, who won reelection in 2018 to a second term steering the blue state of Maryland, said in his book, “I do talk about my vision. My thoughts about where the Republican Party’s future should be. About the broken politics in America and how we should fix it. Some ideas about where the country should head.”

Asked if there will be an appetite for such ideas among 2024 Republican primary voters, the governor predicted that “the vast majority of people in America – regardless of what happens in this November’s election – are going to remain really frustrated with the political process – and regardless  of who wins.”

He forecast that “people are going to be looking for a different direction. I think people are frustrated with the divisiveness and dysfunction and the state of our politics today. It’s hard to tell how wide that audience is.”

The memoir’s jacket describes Hogan – who’s the son of a congressman – as an underdog who became a hero – spotlighting that he saved “his state from fiscal catastrophe” by staring down “entrenched political bosses.” Many Maryland Democrats may take umbrage with that description, arguing that the Republican governor has resisted progressive change.

But Hogan touted that “I’ve done pretty well over the past six years charting a different path and a different course here in the bluest state in the country and it’s worked very well.”

And he noted optimistically that “I think if we can do that here in Maryland, there’s probably a wider audience for that in the country.”

Looking to the 2020 election, Hogan said he hasn't made up his mind on which candidate he'll support for president.

"Luckily I still have more time to think about that. And as chairman of the NGA, representing Democrats and Republicans, I’m trying to avoid politics for a little while. I’ll have to keep you posted on that," he told Fox News.