Scoop: Larry Hogan's "tough on crime" push
As elements of his party feud over the FBI's search of Trump's Florida estate Mar-a-Lago, Maryland's Republican Gov. Larry Hogan is using his final weeks in office to launch a new "tough on crime" offensive, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: Hogan is seeking to chart a political future as a mainstream alternative to former President Trump by campaigning for and donating the maximum amounts to "pro-law enforcement" gubernatorial candidates in four key states.
- The potential 2024 presidential candidate's new efforts in Oregon, Georgia, Nevada and New Mexico come as Trump and his allies have rallied around calls to defund or abolish federal law enforcement agencies after the FBI search.
- After several years in which Republicans used the progressive "defund the police" slogan to attack Democrats as weak on crime, the pro-Trump dynamic has complicated GOP messaging in the final weeks of the midterm campaigning.
What they're saying: "At a time of rising crime, Republicans must be the party of law and order and supporting law enforcement. It’s absurd and dangerous that some Republicans would betray those principles and adopt the failed rhetoric of the far-left,” Hogan told Axios.
The big picture: Hogan is eager to steer the GOP back to what he considers its "traditional" positions — including by abandoning Trump.
- "We won't win back the White House by nominating Donald Trump or a cheap impersonation of him," Hogan told Axios in an interview this year.
- The moderate governor views boosting these "tough on crime" gubernatorial candidates as a way to realize that goal and win a power struggle in which pro-Trump candidates have largely dominated in GOP primaries.
Driving the news: Hogan's C4, An America United, will on Wednesday announce new contributions to four gubernatorial candidates who have pledged to "fully fund the police."
- They include Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, Nevada nominee Sheriff Joe Lombardo, New Mexico nominee Mark Ronchetti and Oregon nominee Christine Drazan.
- The group will give the maximum amounts to each candidate, except in Oregon, where there are no limits.