A Maryland father and son linked by political ambitions | WYPR

A Maryland father and son linked by political ambitions

Apr 24, 2017

Larry Hogan Sr. and Gov. Larry Hogan
Credit Governor's office

Lawrence J. Hogan, Senior, father of Maryland’s governor, died Thursday at age 88 after suffering a stroke. But he lived long enough to see his son fulfill his own political dreams.

Former three-term congressman Larry Hogan, senior, had wanted to be governor, but instead he will forever be linked to the impeachment proceedings against President Nixon. As the first Republican to call for removing the GOP president, Hogan signaled that Nixon would have no escape except to resign.

Balloting in the House Judiciary Committee came just as Hogan was launching a bid for Maryland governor in 1974 with hopes of unseating Marvin Mandel. His strong Democratic base in Prince Georges County suggested the Republican Hogan might have a shot against the Democratic incumbent. In fact, critics would contend that Hogan’s vote for impeachment was intended to boost his gubernatorial prospects.

It didn’t. His vote against Nixon cost him the Republican nomination for governor and forever haunted his career as he recalled during an interview in 2015.

"I lost a lot of friends, a lot of supporters, a lot of contributions, by voting against him and lost the nomination because of my vote against Nixon," Hogan told WYPR’s Sheila Kast. "Not to say I would have changed anything because I did the right thing. But many Republicans were very unforgiving."

Even so, Hogan was still popular in Prince Georges County and was elected county executive in 1978.

Senate President Mike Miller, who has known both Hogans for decades, said father and son share an appeal to working class voters.

"They are both gregarious and are both Irish," Miller said Friday. "Both have an outgoing personality. He had a flair, the same as the son does, for public relations."

Ignoring his son’s advice, Hogan senior made one last bid for state-wide office, challenging Democratic Senator Paul Sarbanes in 1982. He got trounced. He was still expressing his regrets in the 2015 interview.

"Larry tried to talk me out of it. But egos are a driving force for politicians," he said with a chuckle.

But those defeats just made victory all the sweeter when Larry Hogan, Jr., bested the Democrats in 2014 to become only the second Republican governor in a half century. Senate President Miller said it just strengthened the strong bond between the two men.

"Probably the most joyous occasion of his life was to see his son achieve what he sought to obtain but didn’t."

For Larry, Jr., though, the entire expanse of his dad’s career is to be celebrated. And maybe no moment more so than that vote to impeach Nixon, as the new governor explained in his inaugural address.

"Dad put aside his party politics and his own personal considerations in order to do what was the right thing to do for the nation—and I’m about to get emotional here," he said pausing and choking up. "He taught me more about integrity in one day than most men learn in a lifetime. And I am so proud to be his son."

You could say the feeling was mutual.

Sheilah Kast and Rachel Baye contributed to this report.