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Washington Examiner: Governor Hogan Uses His “Message Machine” to Provide “Calm, Sensible” Leadership in Crisis

An article in The Washington Examiner discusses how Governor Hogan has used his “message machine” to advocate for federal pandemic assistance to the states and provide “the real information the public needs to hear” in this crisis.

In his role as chair of the nation’s governors, Governor Hogan has been “honest about the facts and what the governors require, but without picking unnecessary fights or taking political shots.” This approach has been “highlighted by An America United…driving this message through a coordinated operation that leans on proximity to the Washington press corps.” Governor Hogan has also leaned on his “good relationship” with Vice President Pence “that dates back to…2014,” allowing him “to send clear messages to the president.”

As the Niskanen Center recently wrote, this leadership example shows how Governor Hogan “embodies a Republican Party that embraces competence, steadiness, a mixture of traditional conservatism with independence-minded moderation, and get-things-done pragmatism.”

The Washington Examiner reports:

“Gov. Larry Hogan is counterprogramming President Trump with a daily coronavirus media blitz that offers a low-key alternative to the newsworthy but provocative briefings the commander in chief leads from the White House.

The Maryland Republican is advocating for federal pandemic assistance to the states.

Hogan…is driving this message through a coordinated operation that leans on proximity to the Washington press corps, his chairmanship of the National Governors Association, and a political nonprofit organization formed to promote his agenda.

‘He’s just tried to pursue a strategy of being honest about the facts and what the governors require, but without picking unnecessary fights or taking political shots,’ said David Weinman, a spokesman for An America United, Hogan’s aligned 501©4 group. ‘He’s the only person who could unify both sides in this crisis.’

‘He’s trying to fill a void left by Trump,’ said Terry Sullivan, a veteran Republican strategist. ‘He’s serving as a calm, sensible leader who’s providing real information the public needs to hear.’

The governor’s message is highlighted by An America United and amplified on social media platforms by aides with Washington connections. On Monday, Hogan spokesman Mike Ricci, a former congressional staffer, posted a series of tweets echoing the governor’s position that state governments deserve more federal aid to offset the costs of fighting the coronavirus. Trump argues some states should not be rescued from financial missteps made pre-pandemic.

Hogan’s leadership of the bipartisan National Governors Association is central to his elevated public profile amid the spread of the coronavirus. As NGA chairman, he was one of the first governors to consult on the pandemic with Vice President Mike Pence in the Situation Room.

Hogan and Pence have a good relationship that dates back to when Hogan was a first-time candidate in 2014, and Pence, then Indiana governor, was involved in the Republican Governors Association, a political group that boosts GOP gubernatorial hopefuls. The two talk an average of twice weekly, separate from the conference calls that Pence convenes with the governors in his role as leader of Trump’s coronavirus task force.

That connection, Hogan advisers emphasize, enables the governor to send clear messages to the president that Trump takes issue with, without jeopardizing his effectiveness as an advocate for Maryland or chief executives in other states.

‘With Pence as the go-between, it really does help,’ Ricci told the Washington Examiner.”