Hogan won't run for Md. governor, clearing way for Ehrlich

By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Larry Hogan, who was preparing to seek the Republican nomination if former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. did not run again, announced Monday that he had ended his exploratory bid.

"Not only do I believe that Bob Ehrlich should run, but I am convinced he will run and that we should all push in the same direction to elect him as Maryland's next governor," Hogan, who held a cabinet-level position in Ehrlich's administration, said in a statement.

In 2002, Ehrlich was elected Maryland's first GOP governor in a generation, but Martin O'Malley (D) defeated him four years later. In recent weeks, Ehrlich has stepped up his political activities considerably,

Ehrlich told The Washington Post last week that he was continuing to study a possible rematch with O'Malley but is unlikely to announce a decision before March.

Several people close to him have suggested that Maryland Day, celebrated March 25, is a likely announcement date.

Ehrlich spokesman Henry Fawell played down the significance of Hogan's decision Monday, saying "nothing has changed" since Ehrlich's interview with The Post last week.

In the interview, Ehrlich noted that the political climate in the country had changed markedly in recent months. He said: "I'm willing to serve. I am willing to do this again. . . . Right now, it's, 'Where are the people?' and 'Do they want you?' . . . I think last summer people knew my inclination was 'no.' Right now, my inclination is, 'We really have to look at this.' "

Hogan declined to say whether he had talked directly with Ehrlich before deciding to end his bid. Fawell also declined to discuss any conversations Ehrlich and Hogan might have had.

Hogan served as Ehrlich's appointments secretary, a position that involved steering thousands of people to administration jobs. Each describes the other as a good friend.

"He not only has my endorsement, but he will have my enthusiastic support, as he always has, and nobody will work harder to make sure we win in November," Hogan said in his statement.

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