“Gov. Hogan has been way ahead of the federal government in addressing and responding to the coronavirus, “Kurtz added.” He’s been proactive and open with Marylanders. In his role as chairman of the National Governors Association, he’s been involved in some of the earliest federal briefings on the virus and has been good about relaying that informat ion to his team and to his constituents. “
When NBC News reached out to Senate President Bill Ferguson, a Democrat who has sparred with Hogan in the past on various issues, Ferguson’s leader gave an assessment of Hogan that could pass for praise in these politically fraught times: “We have nothing negative to contribute at this point,” said Yaakov Weissmann in an email.
Hogan, unlike Trump, was quick to recognize the coronavirus threat and quick to mobilize the other US governors, Eberly said.
“As chair of the National Governors Association, Hogan was already in a leadership role and I think he used that role quite wisely to get people to understand just how serious the situation was , ”Eberly said.
How has Hogan managed to thrive in a blue state like Maryland during a period of intense political polarization?
Part of it is Marylanders just like Hogan, the experts said. He is married father of three, grandfather of four, and his wife Yumi Hogan is the “first Korean-American first lady in United States history,” according to his official biography .
“He exudes competence and confidence,” said Stella Rouse, associate professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland.
And Hogan’s not afraid to tell off his constituents when he sees them straying from the rules that have been set in place to protect them.
“Despite our warnings, despite rapid escalation of virus, some people are treating this like vacation with parties and large gatherings,” Hogan said during his Thursday update. “If you are engaged in this type of activity, you are in violation of state law and are endangering lives of fellow Marylanders.”
Another reason Hogan thrives, Kurtz said, is that “Maryland isn ‘ t as liberal as people assume it is. ”
“ Hogan has found the sweet spot where a lot of the voters are, ”Kurtz said. “He’s held the line on taxes and a lot of people like that. He’s a pretty unassuming guy, and handled a cancer diagnosis early in his tenure with good humor, grace and grit. ”
In , Hogan revealed he’d been fighting skin cancer and appeared in public with his white mane gone and bandages on his face. “Before you get into speculation about what the other guy looked like, I wanted to tell you about it,” he joked.
Rouse said Hogan is more a pragmatist and less of an ideologue, which is a rarity in the national Republican Party these days.
“The result is he has a lot of political capital in a state that is 2 to 1 Democratic,” Rouse said.
“He made clear when he ran for governor that abortion and marriage equality were settled law and he had no desire to re-litigate them,” Eberly said. “On gun control, he made no mention of dialing back what Democrats had accomplished.”
Now, Eberly said, Hogan maintains a statewide approval rating that “seems to defy gravity.”
Kurtz said there is already talk of Hogan running for Senate in when his term ends, but what might dissuade him is that he would have to take on Sen. Chris Van Hollen, who is a Democrat.
“Van Hollen is pretty popular, and a Republican hasn’t won a Senate race in Maryland since , “Kurtz” said.
Hogan could also, conceivably, run for president in four years.
“Hogan likes to describe himself as a John McCain / George HW Bush kind of a Republican, ”Kurtz said. “If that kind of a Republican ever comes back in fashion, he could be a serious contender.”
GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings