As Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan crisscrosses the country in search of support for a possible 2024 presidential run, there’s always one person on his team, usually off to the side, keeping a sharp eye on the room: a Maryland state trooper.

Hogan, like previous Maryland governors, has an executive protection detail from the Maryland State Police that drives him to meetings and events and keeps close watch on the governor’s safety. That protection doesn’t end when Hogan transitions from official government business to personal political business, like his feeling-out process for 2024.

That security protection comes at a cost to Maryland taxpayers.

Maryland taxpayers paid $236,584.80 for the Republican governor’s security detail on out-of-state and out-of-country trips from January through September of this year, according to information provided by the Maryland State Police in response to a public records request.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The cost includes overtime, hotel bills, meals, rental cars, gas, train tickets “and other related expenses,” according to the Maryland State Police. The state police would not break down the costs by category, saying it would compromise security procedures to do so.

Some of Hogan’s out-of-Maryland trips were on official business, including trade missions to Europe and Asia, but many more were for personal political business.

In his political travels in 2022, Hogan ate fried food at the Iowa State Fair, met with Cuban dissidents in Florida, spoke at the Ronald Reagan library in California and visited early-primary state New Hampshire three times. By the fall, the governor estimated he’d visited more than two dozen states.

“It is long-standing state police policy that the governor is the governor wherever he goes, regardless of the what and the why, and we are in compliance with that practice,” said Mike Ricci, a Hogan spokesman.

In October on one of Hogan’s trips to New Hampshire, The Baltimore Banner asked the governor if his political travels might be distracting him from the business of running Maryland state government.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

“I’ve been in all 24 jurisdictions in Maryland, and I think over the past several months, we’ve done more in Maryland than any previous governor in history,” Hogan said. “I mean, typically, people are kind of winding down their terms and I’m working hard nearly every single day. I’ve been everywhere.”

Hogan said he was plenty busy making announcements about Maryland government programs and traveling within the state.

“I’m doing the day job,” Hogan said, “but I’m also getting out and talking to folks in other places.”

Hogan hasn’t firmly committed to his next step after his second term as governor ends on Jan. 18. But he has not tamped down speculation of a potential run for the White House in 2024.

Hogan has said he believes there might be a path for him in the Republican primary if voters are sick of former President Donald Trump and those who aspire to be like him. Hogan has been a rare elected Republican to criticize Trump.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Hogan has been inching closer toward a declaration of plans to run with his out-of-state speeches and TV appearances.

Hogan took direct aim at the ex-president in a speech to the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas over the weekend.

“Trump said we would be winning so much we’d get tired of winning. Well, I’m sick and tired of our party losing … If you repeatedly lose to a really bad team, it is time for new leadership,” Hogan said.

Hogan isn’t the first governor with ambitions beyond Maryland who has racked up travel costs.

Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, for example, racked up nearly $100,000 in state trooper travel costs in the first nine months of 2012 — in the middle of his second term as he began eyeing his own eventual White House run in 2016.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The O’Malley team’s response to questions about the cost was strikingly similar to Hogan’s team: “He’s the governor wherever he goes, so that cost is picked up by the state,” then-spokesman Rick Abbruzzese told The Washington Post at the time.

The Maryland State Police Executive Protection Section provides security details for several top government officials: governor and their family, lieutenant governor, comptroller, treasurer and attorney general. There are 32 troopers assigned to the section.

Hogan’s other out-of-state travel costs — transportation, hotels, meals and the like for himself and his other aides — are paid by different entities, depending on the type of trip.

The state Department of Commerce pays for trade missions.

When Hogan attends Republican Governors Association meetings and conferences, the RGA foots the bill. The National Governors Association pays “a majority of the costs” for the governor’s attendance at meetings, Ricci said.

The Baltimore Banner thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Aside from the troopers, Hogan’s travel costs for purely political trips are not borne by taxpayers.

“An outside political organization covers the cost of the governor’s travel and lodging, depending on the purpose of the trip,” Ricci said. “In most cases, the expenses are covered by An America United.”

An America United is Hogan’s advocacy organization, founded in 2019 and headquartered in Annapolis down the street from the State House.