Talbot Democratic Women Celebrate Year of Service

U.S. Congressman Jamie Raskin. D-MD keynoted the Talbot County Democratic Women’s Club at their June 2019 Annual Meeting held at the Democratic Headquarters in Easton.  The Congressman was introduced by District 37A Delegate, Sheree Sample-Hughes.  His exciting, impassioned address, made before a packed house, covered everything from a seminar on Constitutional law to an overview of the legislative accomplishments of the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

From L-R, scholarship recipient Emily Redmond, guest speaker Congressman Jamie Raskin, (MD-8), scholarship recipient Diana Hudson-Hohensee and TCDWC president Joyce Scharch.

The former American University Constitutional Law professor dove deep into the issues surrounding Congressional Authority and Presidential accountability.  Congressman Raskin highlighted a number of key legislative accomplishments that he and the Democratic Caucus are exceptionally proud of.  Since January, House Democrats have passed many bills including, the Protecting Americans with Pre-existing Conditions Act of 2019, the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Local Water Protection Act, the Veterans’ Access to Child Care Act, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 – all bills still awaiting consideration before the Republican-led Senate.  Following his talk, Congressman Raskin there was a vibrant Q&A session, which brought many enthusiastic cheers and sounds of agreement from the crowd.

In addition to the inspiring speech by the Congressman, TDWC President Joyce Scharch, presented two outstanding Talbot County Public School graduates each with $500.00 scholarships to help them continue their education. Emily Redmond of Easton High School is planning on attending UMBC and Diana Hudson-Hohensee  of St. Michaels High School will be attending the University of Lynchburg. It give the TDWC great pleasure to help these two young ladies as we have other local young women for the past several years.

For more information about the Talbot Democratic Women’s Club, please contact Joyce Scharch at joyce202@verizon.net.

Harris Supports Decision to End Inappropriate Use of Human Fetal Tissue in Research

Congressman Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) supports the Trump Administration’s decision to discontinue a contract with the University of California, San Francisco to fund research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions.  This decision followed a comprehensive review that began in September 2018 of all Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) “research involving human fetal tissue from elective abortions to ensure consistency with statutes and regulations governing such research, and to ensure the adequacy of procedures and oversight of this research in light of the serious regulatory, moral, and ethical considerations involved.”

As a result of this review and audit, the Administration also decided to end all research requiring new fetal tissue at all National Institute of Health (NIH) labs and to increase ethical safeguards for extramural research using fetal tissue.

Rep. Harris supports the Administration’s decision to end these contracts, and made the following statement:

“I fully support the decision to end federal contracts, paid with taxpayer dollars, that inappropriately use aborted human fetal tissue for testing protocols and research. It is an abuse of taxpayer monies when we commercialize the use of fetal tissue from abortions.”

For media inquiries, please contact Congressman Harris’ Washington, DC office at 202-225-5311, or contact Julia Nista at Julia.Nista@mail.house.gov.

Congressman Andy Harris Joins 57 GOP Lawmakers to Vote Against Disaster Aid Bill

The Hill reported today that Congressman Andy Harris (MD-1) joined 57 other GOP lawmakers in voting against the $19 billon Disaster Aid Bill that would have provided financial aid to Puerto Rico and the states of Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Nebraska, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Ohio.

Critics of the legislation — which provides funding to recovery efforts in areas affected by wildfires, hurricanes and flooding as well as block grants and nutrition assistance for Puerto Rico — cited concerns over its impact on the national debt and its lack of border funding as factors in their decision to vote against the measure.

Read the full story here.

Talbot Dems Rally with Congressman Cummings

Supporters of the Talbot Democratic Party were treated to an evening of inspiration at the party’s 3rd annual Douglass-Tubman Dinner. Honored guest speaker Congressman Elijah Cummings spoke to a sold-out crowd about some of the seminal events in his life that led to his career in public service.

“People ask me, where does your passion come from?” Cummings said. “I tell them quite often my passion comes from my pain. Pain, passion, purpose.”

Cummings was born and raised in Baltimore City growing up in a family of seven children. When he started school, he was placed in special education from kindergarten through the middle of sixth grade.

“I was told I would never read or write,” he said. “I was told I was there because I talked too much.”

Cummings said that what happened to him “happened to a lot of African Americans.” Fortunately, a teacher encouraged him to go to the library after school and study.

Photo: Scott Kane (center), chair of the Talbot County Democratic Central Committee, welcomed Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes (left), who represents Maryland House District 37A on the Eastern Shore, and Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, chair of the Maryland Democratic Party, to the central committee’s annual Douglass-Tubman Dinner.

Cummings said that it was the librarians at the Enoch Pratt Library who helped him get out of the special ed program by staying late with him when they noticed he was struggling.  “They saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself.”

In speaking of the mentors in his life, Cummings also lifted up Talbot County native and resident Walter Black, who was in attendance with his wife Clairdean. Cummings first met Black in the summer of 1962 when he was an 11-year old attending a summer day camp. Black was in his twenties at that time and serving as a field secretary for the Baltimore City Branch of the NAACP.

By 1962, Maryland law required integration of all public pools in the state. However, the summer camp group was cooling off in a small wading pool.

“It was only waist deep.” Cummings recalled. “You know we had to take turns going in.”

When the group went to swim at the much nicer pool in South Baltimore’s Riverside Park they were harassed and turned away. Black was one of the staffers selected to lead Cummings and twenty other young people in a march to integrate the Riverside Park Pool.

Harriette Lowery, an officer with the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, visits with Congressman Elijah Cummings. Photo by: Fred Stoker

It was through this experience that Cummings met Juanita Jackson Mitchell as well.  Mitchell was then legal counsel to the local NAACP and the first African-American woman to practice law in Maryland. When the young protesters attempted to gain access to the large Olympic size park pool, they were spit upon and threatened. Mitchell marched alongside the students and her commanding presence made quite an impression.  “She is the reason I became a lawyer.” Cummings explained.

Cummings was introduced at the dinner by his friend Gene Counihan.  Counihan and Cummings met while serving together in the Maryland House of Delegates for more than a decade. Counihan is now a member of the Talbot County Democratic Central Committee.

“He has 13 honorary degrees which is incredible,” Counihan noted.

Cummings began his career of public service in the House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem.

Since 1996, Congressman Cummings has proudly represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.

The evening was hosted by Scott Kane, chair of the Talbot County Democratic Central Committee. In recognizing dignitaries and local elected officials, Kane invited all those in the room who ran for office in 2018 to stand for a round of applause.

“I like how he asked the losers to stand up,” Cummings said. “Losing doesn’t mean failure. It just means you’re ready to run again.”

He thanked the Talbot Democrats for their work at the local level. “We need to pull in people who want the same thing we want. That’s coalition-forming, and that’s how we stick together.”

“If you do not remember anything else I say, remember this,” he concluded. “That although you may not win every battle, we have no choice but to stand up and fight with everything we’ve got. We are at a critical moment in history.”

Proceeds of the annual Talbot County Democratic Central Committee fundraiser are devoted to supporting local candidates, registering, educating and turning out voters, and sustaining a local headquarters as a hub of Democratic activity year round.

The central committee is the official governing body of the Democratic Party in Talbot County. Chosen by democratic voters during the gubernatorial primary election, the committee consists of ten members who carry out the local business of the Democratic Party. The Democratic Central Committee also fosters party-building activity in Talbot County, including candidate recruitment and Get Out the Vote in conjunction with The Democratic Forum and the Talbot Democratic Women’s Club.

For more information and reservations, go to talbotdems.org.

Congressman Harris Announces Military Academy Resource Forums for Maryland’s First District

Congressman Andy Harris (MD-01) has announced three military academy resource forums for young constituents seeking information on applying to the U.S. Service Academies or joining ROTC detachments at civilian colleges and universities.

All interested eighth grade and high school students in Maryland’s First Congressional District are encouraged to attend along with their parents. Representatives from the U.S. Naval Academy, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, as well as ROTC representatives, have been invited to attend and share their perspectives on the application process. This year, Congressman Harris will be hosting three resource forums to serve the district. Details can be found below:

May 21, 2019; 6—8:00 pm

McFaul Senior Center Activity Room

525 W. MacPhail Road, Bel Air, MD 21014

RSVP at 410-588-5670

 

May 22, 2019; 6—8:00 pm

Black Diamond Lodge

219 South Fruitland Boulevard (Rt 13 North) Fruitland, MD 21826

RSVP at 443-944-8624

 

May 23, 2019; 6—8:00 pm

Chesapeake College — Caroline Center

1000 College Cir, Wye Mills, MD 21679, Wye Mills, MD 21679

RSVP at 410-643-5425

Congressman Harris issued the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce that my office will again be hosting military academy resource forums for young constituents to learn more about the multiple ways one can receive a college education and serve in our military.  These forums are a great chance for our future leaders and their parents to ask questions and learn more about these incredible opportunities.  As a veteran, I am always excited to host these events and look forward to reviewing the applications of these young men and women when it is time for nominating to the academies.”

Each year, Members of Congress have the opportunity to nominate constituents for appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Military Academy at West Point, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.  A nomination is not required to apply to the U.S. Coast Guard Academy or ROTC programs.

For media inquiries, please contact Congressman Harris’ Washington, DC office at 202-225-5311, or contact Victoria Cesaro at Victoria.cesaro@mail.house.gov.

Federal REAL ID Implementation will Prompt Recall of Driver’s Licenses and ID Cards

A group of Marylanders are at risk of having their driver’s licenses or identification cards recalled in June if they don’t satisfy document requirements that are part of the federally-mandated REAL ID process.

The overall deadline for obtaining a REAL ID is October 1, 2020, but more than 66,300 Marylanders with a new REAL ID star license or identification card have not yet filed the required documents. These people have been contacted by the Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) multiple times since December and need to bring those documents to the MDOT MVA by June to complete the process. Without those documents, MDOT MVA will start flagging the affected driver’s licenses and identification cards in June as “recalled.”

The recall of a driver’s license will make the physical card invalid. Customers would still be licensed drivers, but if pulled over by law enforcement, they would have their driver’s licenses confiscated. To avoid this, customers who are part of this group MUST come to a MDOT MVA branch with the required documents as soon as possible and are urged to make an appointment. Affected customers have received three notices via email since December that warn of the June 2019 deadline. They will receive three additional notices in the coming weeks via email and the U.S. Postal Service.

“It’s very important that MDOT MVA customers who have received REAL ID notifications pay attention to the deadlines and provide documents to their nearest branch as soon as possible,” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer.

Some Marylanders who have the new REAL ID license or identification card still must bring in certain documentation to comply with the federal REAL ID requirement.

REAL ID was passed by Congress after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and creates standards for secure driver’s licenses and identification cards nationwide. As of October 1, 2020, all Marylanders must have documents on file and be REAL ID compliant to use a state-issued driver’s license or identification card to board an airplane or enter federal government facilities.

Maryland began issuing REAL ID licenses and identification cards in 2009 under a process that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deemed compliant. However, in October 2017, DHS informed Maryland that all customers with a driver’s license or identification card containing the REAL ID star must have documents on file with MDOT MVA.

As a result, some people have the newly-designed driver’s license or identification card, but still need to bring in documents to become REAL ID compliant. The documents can include: a birth certificate or passport, proof of social security and two documents proving a Maryland home address. For those in this group, including those facing the June deadline, there’s no charge for this process since these customers already paid to get their new license.

Administrator Nizer said that for those unsure whether they are part of the group facing the June recall, “we have developed tools to make checking your REAL ID status as simple as possible.”

People can go to the MVA’s REAL ID Look Up Tool, at www.mva.maryland.gov/realidlookup. When customers enter their driver’s license or identification card number, the tool provides details on their REAL ID status. For those facing the June deadline, the Look Up Tool will indicate:

“You are required to present documents in order to meet federal REAL ID Act requirements. Please bring your documents to a MDOT MVA branch office by MM/DD/YYYY. Failure to respond may result in action against your Maryland Driver’s License or ID card.”

The message asks customers to collect the required documents and make an appointment. Appointments aren’t required, but those who make one are guaranteed to be seen within 15 minutes of the scheduled time. Appointments can be made at www.mva.maryland.gov/realid.

The MVA has added more than 1,900 weekly appointment slots across the state, and now has more than 3,000 appointments available every day. Branch offices in Baltimore City, Essex, Easton, Frederick, Gaithersburg and Westminster have extended hours, from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays, continuing through July 2 to assist in handling high volumes of REAL ID transactions. The Loveville branch in St. Mary’s County is offering Saturday hours of 8 a.m. to noon, also through July 2.

After the June deadline, there will still be nearly a million customers in the same situation – they received the new REAL ID license or identification card but need to file documents with the MVA to satisfy federal requirements. Those affected are being notified over a period of time, to ensure staff could meet standards for outstanding service for these customers, other REAL ID applicants and those conducting other business with the MVA. In May, the MVA will start another six-month notification process for people who will face a November 2019 deadline, then other notifications will go out monthly for those facing later deadlines. The timing allows all of these customers six months in order to comply.

There are 5 million Marylanders with a driver’s license or identification card. Of these, 2.3 million to date have the required federal REAL ID documents on file with MDOT MVA.

Note: Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about federal REAL ID.

Harris Applauds Trump Announcement of Conscience Protection Rule

On Thursday, May 2, President Donald Trump announced a finalization of a rule on conscience protection in a statement during the National Day of Prayer. In his remarks, the president stated, “Just today, we finalized new protections of conscience rights for physicians, pharmacists, nurses, teachers, students, and faith-based charities. Together, we are building a culture that cherishes the dignity and worth of human life. Every child – born and unborn – is a sacred gift from God.”

Today, Health and Human Services is enforcing its authority on previous conscience protection policies by implementing a rule titled, “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care; Delegations of Authority.” This rule enhances the authority of 25 pre-existing laws that protect the longstanding conscience rights of Americans in healthcare funded by HHS.

Congressman Andy Harris introduced H.R. 2014, the Conscience Protection Act, on April 1, 2019, with 80 additional Members of Congress co-sponsoring the bill. The Conscience Protection Act would take the next step in protecting the rights of conscience for medical providers by guaranteeing a private right of action for individuals whose conscience rights have been violated and supporting Americans in having freedom of religion and conscience in healthcare.

Rep. Harris made the following statement supporting the president’s remarks:

“I support President Trump in his remarks today and in his efforts to protect the conscience of Americans who provide health care. Just last month, I led 80 Members of Congress in introducing the Conscience Protection Act, H.R. 2014, which amends the Public Health Service Act to prevent any federal, state, or local government from penalizing or discriminating against a health care provider if the provider does not participate in highly controversial abortion practices. As a physician and lawmaker, I support conscience protection because I strongly believe that health care providers should not be forced to violate their conscience when providing care for patients, and I applaud President Trump and his administration in their efforts to support conscience protection for all Americans.”

Md. House of Delegates elects Adrienne Jones as New Speaker

Following more than four hours of deliberation, the Maryland House of Delegates made history in a surprise decision Wednesday afternoon, voting Delegate Adrienne A. Jones, D-Baltimore County, the next Speaker of the House.

Jones, who served as Speaker pro tempore, becomes the first African American, and the first woman, to be voted into the position.

legate Adrienne A. Jones, D-Baltimore County, the next Speaker of the House.

She filled in for the late House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, who had fallen ill during the session and died April 7 after being hospitalized with pneumonia.

For weeks following the close of the legislative session April 8, Delegate Maggie McIntosh, D-Baltimore, and Delegate Dereck Davis, D-Prince George’s, were considered the front-runners to fill the vacancy.

Jones initially expressed interest in being the next House Speaker but withdrew her name from the race last week.

As the special session drew closer to Wednesday, both McIntosh and Davis stated they had secured the 71 votes — a simple majority — necessary to win the election.

The Legislative Black Caucus announced its support on Tuesday for Davis. And in the midst of the Democratic Caucus’ deliberations Wednesday afternoon, the House Minority Caucus released a statement that it was pledging all 42 Republican votes to Davis.

The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post reported the Democratic Caucus voted 58-40 for McIntosh in its closed-door meeting, which would have given Davis, with Republican support, enough votes to win but at the cost of party unity.

Both the House Democratic and Republican Caucuses met for hours across the hall from each other in the Lowe Office House Building; the House Minority Caucus scheduled a press conference for 10:45 a.m., but time passed and there was no announcement.

Through various times during the late morning and into the early afternoon, members of both caucuses left and re-entered their meeting rooms. At one point, the Black Caucus left to have its own short meeting.

The full Democratic Caucus finally exited its meeting room around 2:30 p.m., where at a makeshift podium they announced unanimous support for Jones.

The unanimous vote was made official at a special House session roughly 30 minutes after the announcement. Both McIntosh and Davis spoke on the floor in support of Jones as new House Speaker, and Jones was visibly emotional as her colleagues spoke glowingly of her.

At a press conference following the vote, Jones thanked McIntosh and Davis, who she said placed the Democratic Caucus above themselves in working together and eventually backing her.

“It’s because of these two individuals that are flanking me on the left and the right,” Jones said while gesturing to McIntosh and Davis, “that I am in this position where I am today.”

Said McIntosh: “I think everybody agreed at the end that it was so important to find a candidate who could get to 71 … I think we all are better and stronger for it. We’re united. I think we’re even stronger.”

Republican Gov. Larry Hogan and Speaker President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., D-Prince George’s, Charles and Calvert, joined in congratulating Jones.

Hogan called Wednesday’s vote a “proud and historic moment” for Maryland, and Miller called Jones a “natural successor” to Busch.

Delegate C.T. Wilson, D-Charles, praised Davis, who he said had the votes secured, but was open to Jones as the next House Speaker to prevent a fracture within the party.

“Dereck Davis had it. He had that gold ring in his hand and he stepped back to save the Democratic Caucus,” Wilson said. “The Black Caucus endorsed him and I’m happy for Adrienne, but Dereck Davis had it. He was a gentleman.”

Wilson said a primary issue some Democratic lawmakers had with Davis was that he wasn’t as progressive as they would have liked.

“I keep telling them, African Americans aren’t as liberal as they think we are,” Wilson said. “We’re thinkers, we’re church-goers, we’re God-fearing people.”

Either way the votes tipped, history would have been made. McIntosh would have been the first openly gay House Speaker and the first woman, and Davis would have been the first African American House Speaker.

Jones has served as a delegate since 1997, notably sitting on the Appropriations Committee, which McIntosh chairs, for 16 years.

She oversees the agenda of a state that still has many unresolved issues from the past legislative session, notably issues over educating spending and redistricting.

“Adrienne has been spectacular,” Davis said. “She guided us through the roughest period I know during my 25 years down here. She did it with dignity and grace and she’s the best person for the job.”

By Daniel Oyefusi

A Larry Hogan Youth Movement?

As Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan weighs whether to mount a primary challenge to Donald Trump for the Republican nomination for president in 2020, he might want to look to young voters to boost his chances.

Among the audience of business and political leaders at Hogan’s “Politics & Eggs” event earlier this week at Saint Anselm College here were several college students who were interested in hearing what the governor had to say.

“I wanted to see (Hogan) first-hand,” said Kevin Chrisom, a freshman politics major at Saint Anselm. “The way he’s been able, in his five years as governor so far, to be so bipartisan…is very impressive.”

According to a recent Harvard University Institute of Politics poll, more young voters said they will vote in the 2020 primaries than they did in 2016. Forty-three percent of voters aged 18 to 29 said they would vote in the primaries, compared to 36 percent four years ago.

Further, Generation Z, those who will be 18 to 23 years old in 2020, will comprise 10 percent of the total electorate, up from six percent in 2016, according to the Pew Research Center.

Looking at the 2020 race, Hogan might find an opportunity to appeal to young Republicans, independents and moderate Democrats in states with open primaries with his bipartisan, pragmatic style of governance.

“He’s delivered the results (in Maryland),” said Brendan Flaherty, a sophomore politics major at Saint Anselm. “He can point to things that he’s done that truly benefit young people.”

Hogan has already said that he would target states with open primaries, in which voters don’t have to be registered with a political party in order to vote for a partisan candidate.

“Here in New Hampshire, for example, they like to be independent, they like to look at the candidates and kick the tires and meet people one-on-one,” Hogan told reporters after his speech. “I’m pretty good at retail politics.”

Students also pointed to Hogan’s genuine personality and endearing personal story — he successfully battled advanced non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma during his first term — as attributes that would appeal to young voters.

“I admire his leadership abilities, his strength,” Flaherty said. “As long as he doesn’t really stray too far from who he is, I think he’ll do just fine.”

Should Hogan mount a primary challenge to Trump, one of his first objectives would be to increase his name recognition.

Although he is popular in Maryland, enjoying a 69 percent approval rating in a deep-blue state, he would need to raise his profile at the national level.

Speaking at high-profile events like “Politics & Eggs,” where he can reach a large number of young people interested in the political process, is a good start, students said.

“Obviously New Hampshire is a big state for elections if he wants to run,” said Jordan Cook, a sophomore politics and history major at Saint Anselm. “So I think he just really needs to travel state-to-state and go to events like this where there’s young, passionate people like us that are interested in politics. Hopefully that will get his name out.”

Hogan revealed at the political breakfast that he intends to visit 16 more states in the next few months, in addition to the 10 he has already visited, in order to “continue listening” to people encouraging him to make a bid for the nomination.

“Keep coming to these events, keep coming to colleges, get the young people out — Republicans, independents, even moderate Democrats,” said Chrisom. “Just keep speaking to young people and going to events, I think is the greatest way to raise his profile.”

By Carolina Velloso

Hogan Keeps 2020 Door Open

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan told a New Hampshire political breakfast Tuesday that he is “listening” to people encouraging him to mount a presidential bid against President Donald Trump.

But Hogan insisted he was not going to launch a “suicide mission” unless he thought there was a path to victory. While he considers a campaign, the governor revealed he is going to be visiting 16 more states.

“A lot of people have been approaching me,” Hogan said at “Politics and Eggs,” co-sponsored by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College. “People have asked me to give this serious consideration and I think I owe it to those people to do just that.”

Hogan dismissed the notion that he would consider a presidential bid with an objective not of a victory, but of weakening Trump in the general election.

“I’m not interested in just running to hurt (or) bruise the president. I have a state to run,” he told reporters. “I’m out here talking about things that I think are important.”

Hogan said he does not want to run unless he believes he has a chance at victory.

“I have a real day job that’s important to me and (to) the people of Maryland,” he said.

Hogan drew a comparison to former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, the first Republican to announce a primary challenge to Trump, saying that “it is a different calculus” for someone who is not a sitting governor.

Hogan’s remarks are nevertheless the strongest indication to date that he is seriously considering a bid for the Republican nomination.

Hogan revealed that he has already been to 10 states, and plans to visit 16 more over the next few months, playing coy as to his specific plans in each of those states. He said he is going to simply “continue to listen” to what people have to say.

“Obviously I have very strong concerns about the future of my party and the future of the country,” Hogan said. “I’m going to take as much time as it takes to make that decision.”

Tom Rath, a veteran Republican strategist in New Hampshire, said the path to a Hogan victory would be difficult, but praised the Maryland governor’s credentials.

“(Hogan) is is competent, fiscally conservative and fair-minded on social issues,” Rath told WMUR. “He won twice in a very, very Democratic state and has had success.”

“The question,” Rath said, “is whether there is enough support here for someone to challenge the president, who, at the moment, has not just the hearts of many Republicans but also has a strong hold on the organization.”

Hogan’s decision to keep exploring a presidential run comes less than a week after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election interference and Trump’s possible obstruction of justice.

Hogan took aim at Trump for the revelations in the Mueller report, which concluded that there was no direct evidence of collusion, though it did not fully exonerate Trump on obstruction of justice.

“There was some really unsavory (and) disturbing stuff in the report,” Hogan said. “Just because aides did not follow his orders, that’s the only reason we don’t have obstruction of justice.”

Hogan stopped short of saying that the outcome of the report would weigh on his decision on whether to challenge Trump for the Republican nomination.

“(The report) did not make me proud of the president, and (it’s) certainly nothing to celebrate,” Hogan said. But he added that “it’s really about seeing what people think out there and whether there’s any path to victory and whether or not they’re really interested in having an alternative.”

A potential campaign strategy, Hogan indicated, might focus on the states that have open primaries, in which voters do not need to be affiliated with a political party in order to vote.

This would allow the moderate Republican, who enjoys a high approval rating in a state with a Democratic majority, to tap into undecided voters or Republicans yearning for more options.

“Here in New Hampshire, for example, they like to be independent, they like to look at the candidates and kick the tires and meet people one-on-one,” Hogan said. “I’m pretty good at retail politics.”
Hogan emphasized in his speech the legislative success he has achieved governing with a Democratic state legislatures, and some experts in attendance said Hogan’s history of bipartisanship could be an asset on the campaign trail.

“I think his remarks on how he has cooperated with Democrats in Maryland were well received, particularly among anti-Trump Republicans,” Andrew Smith, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire and the director of the UNH Survey Center, told Capital News Service.

Smith, however, remained skeptical that a successful primary challenge to Trump is realistic for Hogan.

“I’m not sure that he convinced many people that he would be capable of defeating Trump for the nomination,” Smith said.

Hogan said he met with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on his trip. Hogan trails only Baker, also a moderate Republican in a deep-blue state, as the most popular governor in the country (Baker holds a 72 percent approval rating, while Hogan sits at 69, according to a Morning Consult poll).

When asked whether they discussed the 2020 election, Hogan replied: “A little bit.”

By Carolina Velloso

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