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Opinion
WYPR's Senior News Analyst opines on recent Maryland news.

Message To Hogan: Think More Like The Pros

Tom Chalkley
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Larry Hogan, a businessman who served as former governor Bob Ehrlich's appointments secretary, now says he's ready to enter his party's race for governor.

“I’m not a professional politician,” he said as he prepared to make his plan official. “I’m a businessman.” Like many Republican challengers, he underscores his lack of political credits – as if you can run for high office without political involvement.

Politicians enjoy little respect these days. But the requirements of winning haven’t changed. You have to raise money to get your message out. You have to have a record and a message: why you and not the other guys?

Hogan says he’s not late to the game.

“I don’t think you need to be campaigning throughout 2013 for an election that takes place at the end of 2014,” he says. He’s probably right about his party’s primary: Many believe he will win it.

But winning against the big money, well-organized Democrats? He’s way late.

He’s been thinking about the race for at least a year, first as a way to advertise his business. That thinking reportedly evolved from strictly ego- and business-driven to a conviction he can win in deeply blue Maryland.

From his perspective as leader of his grassroots “Change Maryland,” Hogan has been highly critical of the O’Malley Administration on taxes (too high) and on job creation (too low).

O’Malley is virtually gone, so the barbs need re-direction – nothing wrong with that, of course, and just what a professional politician would do. If Hogan really wants to be governor, he needs to start thinking more like the pros.

Otherwise it’s still his ego and his business.

Your comments are welcome at fsmith@wypr.org.