Larry Hogan, a Republican who explored a 2010 gubernatorial bid, has launched a new organization critical of Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and others in what he calls the Annapolis “monopoly.”
Change Maryland advertises itself as a “grassroots movement” that should appeal to frustrated Republicans, Democrats and independents. But it also appears to be a vehicle to boost the visibility of Hogan, a Cabinet secretary under former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).
Hogan, who held the title of appointments secretary, ended his 2010 exploratory bid when it became clear that Ehrlich would seek a rematch with O’Malley.
In an interview Wednesday, Hogan said a 2014 gubernatorial run is ”not out of the question” and suggested he would decide by early 2013, allowing plenty of time to raise money and mount a campaign.
The new group, though, is about trying to bring about change now, said Hogan, its chairman.
According to its Web site: “We can’t just sit back, accept the status quo, and allow an out of touch monopoly to run our state into the ground with no opposition, no debate, and no checks and balances. It’s time we said enough is enough.”
A campaign-style video on the Web site mocks O’Malley’s focus during last year’s campaign on Ehrlich-era fee increases, suggesting O’Malley has supported several since winning re-election.
Hogan said the group is just getting organized but plans to build its presence on Facebook, hold events around the state, start raising money and help like-minded candidates.
“I don’t know that I need this to be visible,” Hogan said. “It’s just another way to stay involved.”
With O’Malley barred from running again by term limits, the 2014 race could be wide open on both sides.
Several Democrats — including Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman — are looking at the race.
Ehrlich has said he has no plans to run for office again in Maryland.