BALTIMORE -- Gov. Larry Hogan continues to show signs he may be exploring a presidential run.
He is spending Thursday in Iowa, the first state on the primary calendar for the 2024 presidential election.
He traveled to another key state, New Hampshire, last month.
On top of that, Hogan's political organization, An America United, released a public safety platform Thursday that includes a "Re-fund the police" package and stricter sentences for repeat violent offenders, two initiatives he pushed for in Annapolis. It also calls for declaring a state of emergency to battle the opioid crisis and providing more resources to secure the U.S.-Mexico border.
"Instead of thanking our men and women in law enforcement for their service and providing them with the resources they need to keep Americans safe, politicians have too often targeted police as convenient punching bags to promote soft on crime policies and out-of-touch political agendas," Hogan said in a statement attached to the announcement. "To reverse the tide of rising crime, we need to stop demonizing and sabotaging the dedicated men and women who risk their lives every single day to keep the rest of us safe."
With just months left in office here in Maryland, the governor continues to be asked the same question of if he will run for president in 2024. Radio show host Hugh Hewitt was the latest to ask that question during an interview Thursday.
"I'm not going to even talk about the future - figure out what I'm going to do until next year," Hogan told Hewitt. "I think we have to see what happens in the 2022 election first before we talk about '24."
Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford chimed in, implying on a Baltimore radio show that governor Hogan may run as an independent
He later clarified, "No, that's just my opinion."
A popular Republican in a blue state, Hogan has been a critic of former President Donald Trump and has positioned himself as a moderate alternative.
But Hogan recently experienced a major political loss after the candidate he endorsed as his successor -- Kelly Schulz, his former labor and commerce secretary -- lost to Del. Dan Cox, a far-right conservative endorsed by Trump.
Today he visited Iowa State Fair, which has long attracted presidential candidates.
Hogan said in a social media post that he had a great time at the fair on Hero's Day. He said he had a chance to thank law enforcement members, first responders, and veterans for their service.
Marylanders have their own opinion on the governor's political future.
"I think it would be a good option. I did write him (Hogan) in for the last presidential race," said Jennifer Turner who spoke to WJZ in Howard County.
"I never voted for anybody in my entire life but I would vote for him," another man said.
"I'm a Democrat, but I like him as a person and if he (Hogan) ran for president, he'd really be a great president," said Atieno Johnson who also spoke to WJZ in Howard County.
Some residents who do not support the governor chose not to speak with WJZ on the record.
For now, Hogan has said he's focused on finishing his term.
"I've got a pretty important day job on this. I still have a job until next January as governor of Maryland and I'm going to finish that job," said Hogan. "I've got a pretty important day job. I still have a job until next January as governor of Maryland and I'm going to finish that job, run through the tape and do the best job I can. I mean plenty of time. We've got two more years till the next election."
The future remains unclear and open to various possibilities, An America United Executive Director David Weinman said in a statement to WJZ.
Weinman previously described a "Hogan-style of leadership" as "even more important and urgent."
"Governor Hogan is a lifelong Republican and has no plans to change that," Weinman said. "As he's repeatedly said, the Governor is focused on leading Maryland through next January and hasn't decided what the future holds. He plans to continue being a voice of reason in his party because he cares deeply about our country."
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