Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Running for US Senate

February 9, 2024 by Dan McCue
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan Running for US Senate
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan in a screen grab from the video announcing his candidacy for U.S. Senate.

WASHINGTON — Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a popular moderate Republican who last year considered a run for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination, is running for U.S. Senate instead.

In what amounted to a surprise announcement Friday, just hours before Maryland’s filing deadline, Hogan said he was entering the race to succeed retiring Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat, “not to serve one party — but to stand up for both parties, fight for Maryland and fix our nation’s broken politics.”

Hogan, who rose to national prominence as one of the few Republicans to criticize former President Donald Trump, is highly popular with both Republicans and Democrats, and, among other things in his public career, enjoyed a successful tenure as chairman of the nonpartisan National Governors Association.

His race for Cardin’s seat won’t be a slam dunk, however, as it hasn’t been held by a Republican in 37 years, and the state’s electorate gave the departing incumbent ever-greater margins of victory over the Republicans he faced over the years.

That said, Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to elect GOP members to the chamber, said in a statement that Hogan “is a great leader for Maryland, and that’s why he remains overwhelmingly popular in the state. 

“We look forward to welcoming him to the United States Senate,” Daines said.

As recently as last fall, Hogan said he had not completely ruled out a presidential run, pointing to the ouster of then-House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and the strength of the criminal charges against Donald Trump, as signs of the “train wreck” his party had become.

“I’m still trying to figure that out, but I’m not walking away” from presidential politics, Hogan told Bloomberg News.

“I don’t want to run a race and nibble around the edges. If I thought there was a path to success to win the race, then I just said I wouldn’t shut the door to that opportunity,” he added.

At the time, Hogan was also serving as national co-chairperson of No Labels, an independent group contemplating backing a candidate for a third-party run for the White House.

He resigned from that position in December, a move that stoked speculation that he just might be No Labels’ candidate. But that opportunity, if it actually existed, appears to have come and gone.

No Labels has made no announcement about a possible candidate and Hogan now has a Senate race on his hands.

In a video posted to the X social media platform Friday morning, the former governor recalled how 50 years ago his father, Larry Hogan Sr., became the first Republican to come out for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

“He put aside party politics and his own personal considerations, and he stepped up to do the right thing for Maryland and the nation,” Hogan said. “Today, Washington is completely broken because that kind of leadership, that kind of willingness to put country over party, has become far too rare. 

“My fellow Marylanders, you know me,” he continued. “For eight years, we proved that the toxic politics that divide our nation need not divide our state. We overcame unprecedented challenges, cut taxes eight years in a row, balanced the budget and created a record surplus. And we did it all by finding common ground for the common good.”

Hogan went on to say “like the exhausted majority of Marylanders, I’m completely fed up with politics as usual. The politicians in Washington seem to be more interested in arguing than actually getting anything done for the people they represent. Enough is enough.”

“Look, I don’t come from the performative art school of politics. I come from the get to work and get things done school, and I’ll work with anyone who wants to do the people’s business,” he added.

Two years ago, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and others had tried to convince Hogan that he should run against Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

Hogan demurred, however, saying at the time that his heart just wasn’t in such a race and didn’t see himself being a U.S. senator. He didn’t address his change of heart in Friday’s video.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

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