Nov 7, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive: Hogan drops new ad as he weighs third-party bid for president

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) takes aim at Democrats and Republicans in a new ad on foreign policy — a signal that Hogan, a co-chair of the No Labels organization, is moving toward a third-party presidential bid.

Why it matters: As polls suggest voters want an alternative to a likely Biden-Trump rematch in 2024, No Labels is laying the groundwork for a bipartisan presidential ticket and has secured ballot access in 12 states so far.

  • Hogan and Sen. Joe Manchin (R-W. Va.) have been among those mentioned as possible No Labels nominees.
  • But the group hasn't indicated to any potential candidates that they have an inside track to the new party's nominations for president or vice president. Those will be decided at the party's convention in Dallas, scheduled for April.

Driving the news: Hogan's new ad — funded by his PAC, An America United — casts him as a Reagan Republican who promises to stand up for America's allies and promote "peace through strength," a Reagan mantra.

  • In the ad, Hogan singles out progressives for questioning U.S. support for Israel, and criticizes Republicans who oppose U.S. funding for Ukraine to help that nation counter Russia's invasion.
  • "Our allies question whether they should still trust us, and our enemies question whether they should still fear us," Hogan says as video of fighting in the Middle East and Ukraine along with clips featuring progressive and far-right lawmakers speaking out against certain policies.
  • "America is strongest when we stand united with our allies. At this dangerous moment, that's the leadership we need. Unfortunately, neither party is delivering it," Hogan told Axios in a statement.

The big picture: Hogan — who served two terms as governor in Maryland, a solidly blue state — has been a vocal critics of former President Trump, saying he shouldn't be the GOP nominee.

  • Hogan also recently accused President Biden of catering "to the far-left extremes" and showing "weakness to the world" during a speech in New Hampshire, an early primary state.

Hogan has stressed that he'll run for president only if the "conditions are right" — and if he thinks running won't help Trump return to the White House.

  • "If I believe that we can actually win the race, we might have to try to pull off something that's never been done," Hogan told CBS News in September.

What we're watching: No Labels has promoted polling that indicates Americans are deeply dissatisfied with both party's leading presidential contenders.

  • Many Democrats are convinced that a third-party challenge will siphon votes away from Biden and tip the election to Trump.
  • Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist and Kennedy family scion, exited the Democratic race last month to run as an independent. A recent Quinnipiac University poll suggested that Kennedy actually might draw more votes from Trump than from Biden.
  • Cornel West, a left-wing academic and activist, also is running an independent campaign that could draw a second look from progressive voters alienated by Biden's support for Israel's military operation in Gaza.

Go deeper: Top White House officials are anxiously watching a potential third-party challenge from No Labels, while studiously avoiding any public attacks that could give the group oxygen for a bipartisan presidential ticket.

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