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Potential GOP challenger calls Trump's 2020 chances 'weak'

Posted at 7:43 PM, Feb 19, 2019

Maryland's Republican governor, who's viewed as a potential primary challenger to President Donald Trump in 2020, said the President's poll numbers show he's "pretty weak in the general election."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan made the comments to CBS News in an interview set to air Wednesday morning as the moderate Republican continues to mull a possible primary challenge to Trump.

"The issue I'm concerned about is he has a very low re-elect number, I think in the 30s, high 30s, low 40s," Hogan said in the interview. "So the chance of him losing a general election are pretty good. I'm not saying he couldn't win, but he's pretty weak in the general election."

According to Gallup's most recent poll, Trump's overall favorability is at 44% . But a CNN poll from last month showed that the President maintains strong support within the party, with 81% of Republicans approving of Trump's performance as President.

Hogan added that Trump's unpopularity could jeopardize the entire Republican fold, especially if the President faces a "very far-left" opponent.

"At some point, if he weakens further, Republicans would say we're concerned about whether or not he's going to win if we're going to face a very far-left Democratic nominee, and is he going to take the rest of us down with him, if you're an elected official," Hogan told CBS.

In a nod to his own potential future plans, the two-term governor also acknowledged that a primary challenger beating an incumbent to win the party's nomination would be unlikely -- but compared it to his unlikely success in becoming Maryland's second-ever Republican governor.

"I don't know what it's going to look like down the road," he told CBS News. "Today it would be very difficult. Nobody has successfully challenged a sitting president in the same party in a primary since 1884. I know I'm the second Republican (governor) in the history of Maryland but I'm not sure, that's probably about the same odds, I guess."

Hogan told CNN earlier this month that he's open to a run for the 2020 Republican ticket.

"I'm watching with great interest all of this talk," Hogan told CNN. "I'm flattered people are saying that and including me in those discussions. My focus, my plan right now is to stay here for four years and do the best job I can in Maryland, but I've said, 'You never say never.' Who knows what's going to happen."

The Maryland Republican has also been a vocal Trump critic, bashing Trump's fixation on a border wall in a CNN op-ed last week.

"President Trump: Let's be honest, neither Mexico nor 'Chuck and Nancy' are going to pay for the wall from sea to shining sea that you promised during your campaign," Hogan wrote, later adding, "Mr. President, in some areas a wall makes zero sense."