Larry Hogan, a Cabinet official under former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., announced Friday that he will become a Republican gubernatorial candidate and try to wrest control of state government from an “out-of-touch monopoly” of Democrats.
“I believe that a majority of Marylanders, regardless of party, are finally ready to say enough is enough,” Hogan, a real estate broker and leader of the grass-roots group Change Maryland, told several hundred supporters Friday night in Annapolis.
Hogan, an Anne Arundel County resident, indicated that he will make a formal announcement of his candidacy in January, making good on business commitments that run through the end of the year and allowing himself time to spend with his family over the holidays.
He will join the GOP primary field several months after his competitors, who include Harford County Executive David R. Craig (R), Del. Ronald A. George (R-Anne Arundel) and Charles County businessman Charles Lollar.
“I’m not a professional politician, I’m a businessman,” Hogan said. “But I don’t think you need to be campaigning throughout 2013 for an election that takes place at the end of 2014.”
The Republican primary next year is in June in Maryland, a state where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1.
Hogan served as appointments secretary under Ehrlich, the state’s only Republican governor in the past generation, from 2003 to 2007. In that capacity, Hogan was responsible for filling thousands of positions in state government and on state boards and commissions.
Hogan launched an exploratory committee to run for governor four years ago but stepped aside after it became clear that Ehrlich was going to attempt a comeback bid against Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), who had defeated him in 2006 after a single term.
As leader of Change Maryland, Hogan has been highly critical of O’Malley, particularly on the issues of taxes and job creation. The group has kept a running tally of tax increases passed during the O’Malley years, which now stands at at least 40.
In his remarks, Hogan took aim at O’Malley as well as the two leading Democrats seeking to succeed him, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler.
“I happen to believe strongly that the people of Maryland simply cannot afford another four years of O’Malley/Brown/Gansler, tax-and-spend, politics as usual,” Hogan said. “It’s about time we got the government off our backs and out of our pockets, so we can grow the private sector, put people back to work and turn Maryland’s economy around.”
Hogan spoke at an Annapolis hotel where the Maryland Republican Party is holding its fall convention this weekend.