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Published on June 30th, 2013 | by Len Lazarick

13

Hogan hopes Change Maryland is the ticket

Larry Hogan

Larry Hogan (Photos from Change Maryland on Facebook)

Larry Hogan was kicking himself after his brief speech to some 250 guests at his waterfront home in Edgewater Thursday night. He blew a major applause line by forgetting to mention a top accomplishment of his anti-O’Malley policy group, Change Maryland.

Change Maryland had just surpassed Gov. Martin O’Malley on Facebook with 46,790 “likes” compared to O’Malley’s 46,135.

“We’re the largest and fastest growing grassroots organization in Maryland,” Hogan said in an interview, with 10 times more “likes” than Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. His nonprofit group has more thumbs-up than all the candidates of both parties combined.

Not that Hogan is running for anything — at the moment. Started two years ago, Change Maryland has long been presumed to be a shadow operation for Hogan’s own candidacy for governor.

“I don’t have any plans to announce,” Hogan said. Hogan, a real estate broker and former appointments secretary for Gov. Bob Ehrlich, explored running for governor in 2010, but abandoned the race when Ehrlich got in.

“I just want to lead the opposition to the current administration,” Hogan said. It was Change Maryland that came up with perhaps the most widely touted GOP slam against the O’Malley-Brown administration — that it passed 40 consecutive tax and fee hikes.

High water mark on taxes

There might be some quibbling about the precise number. But there’s little question that July 1 marks a new high water mark. That’s when a gas tax increase and major toll hikes on major bridges and tunnels go into effect, and bills that include the stormwater fees dubbed the “rain tax” are supposed to be mailed out with property tax bills. Republican legislators have scheduled several events Monday to mark the event.

Larry Hogan, far right, talks to Red Maryland podcast. From left, Mark Newgent, Greg Kline and Brian Giffiths.

Larry Hogan, far right, talks to Red Maryland podcast. From left, Mark Newgent, Brian Griffiths and Greg Kline.

CORRECTION: Change Maryland, a 527 501(c)(4) nonprofit, has been operating as a kind of open-source opposition research firm.

“This is not just another fight between Republicans and Democrats,” Hogan said. He maintains his organization includes thousands of Democrats and independents fed up with O’Malley policies. “If that’s ‘moving Maryland forward,’ ” as the governor proclaims, “maybe next year it’s time to take Maryland back,” Hogan said.

There were few Democrats in evidence at Hogan’s event, with the exception of former Gov. Marvin Mandel and his lobbyist “chauffeur” Bruce Bereano. There were Ehrlich Administration alumni including former first lady Kendel Ehrlich, and lots of Republican elected officials and party donors present, including a few running against each other in party primaries next year, such as Anne Arundel Executive Laura Neuman and Del. Steve Schuh, who wants Neuman’s job. The most prominent were the only two announced Republican candidates for governor, Harford County Executive David Craig and Anne Arundel Del. Ron George, busily working the crowd.

Hogan was happy to host them in his house on a secluded peninsula jutting out into Beard’s Creek off the South River.

“These folks are making a huge mistake coming out so early,” Hogan said. “Rarely would you want to run a race for more than 12 months,” calling it “just a sign of weakness.”

Hogan eyes November race

Hogan freely concedes he’s looking at next year’s election. “My only concern would be if I could win the race in November,” and the only way to do that is with “a sizable numbers of independents and Democrats.”

At the moment, there’s no telling where the economy and what the lay of the land will be, he said, and he’ll likely wait till January to decide.

–Len Lazarick

Len@MarylandReporter.com

Larry Hogan talks to crowd at his house.

Larry Hogan talks to crowd at his house.

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  • Bob

    Hogan and Change Maryland was sponsoring MDGOP efforts last year. Nonpartisan my…

  • Steve Lebowitz

    Larry Hogan’s “Change Maryland” following only shows that our state’s whining electoral minority likes to press buttons on Facebook. Bob Ehrlich has 60,000 Facebook followers, but he couldn’t get arrested in Maryland, let alone elected. But let’s hope self-titled “[Ehrlich] Cabinet Secretary” runs, as it would be fun to trot out Bob Ehrlich’s sorry record of failure and hypocrisy to sink yet another Maryland Republican.

    • Tavon

      Your ignorance is comical.

    • Bob

      Facebook groups don’t win elections. I wonder how much money Hogan has wasted on Facebook ads?

  • bwdwm

    Wow. Look at all those old, white people!

    • R

      Are you implying that young, non-whites like to get overtaxed?

  • mig201

    What some of the commenters fail to realize is the fact there are a lot of ex-democratic voters who are tired of being ignored. I am one of them. There are a lot of Union construction workers who are really tired of all the taxes here. The last straw for many was all the time we spent in Annapolis fighting the gun laws this year, when our democratic representatives refused to even talk to us, let alone listen to reason. For the record, I am the President of a construction union.

    • DJ

      So how is he about unions. I too are a construction union member.

  • grantal

    I can and never will trust anyone who is a Republican. In fact I will never trust a politician they are mostly liars and criminals that want to steal people’s rights from under them and give them to big corporations and banks. Most of of them don’t work for the “people”!!

    • Michael B

      Dems and Republicans are essentially the exact same thing. They are both taking your money and handing it out to big banks. Obama handed the banking industry hundred’s of billions of dollars from the tax payers to help shore up the industry and prevent an “economic disaster”. The banks then turned around and gave bonuses with the tax money and then restricted loans to the very people that bailed them out. Your buddy Harry Reid, who some how became a multi-millionaire on a senator’s salary is one of the very people that helped the banking industry get to the point of collapse. Assigning blame to one party while ignoring the very acts of the other is how we got to this mess in Maryland. We have people who think that the Democrats are so wonderful that they should maintain control over every aspect of government. The very people that just allowed 40 taxes to be increased without addressing the wasteful spending problem that the state has.

    • O’Malley is a IDIOT

      Raising TAXES higher & higher is always good for the little guy. Remember , THANK A DEMOCRAT for your higher taxes, SALES, GAS and RAIN.

  • Eileen

    Ron George has my vote.

  • DJ

    What does he think of unions?

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