Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that he will not run for the Senate in November, spurning an aggressive recruitment campaign by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other Republicans as they try to win back control of the chamber.
“I sincerely appreciate all the people who have been encouraging me to consider it,” Hogan told reporters during a news conference at the state Capitol in Annapolis. “A number of people have said that they thought I could make a difference in the Senate and be a voice of common sense and moderation. I was certainly humbled by that. And it gave me and my family reasons to consider it. But as I have repeatedly said, I don’t aspire to be a United States senator.”
Hogan, a centrist Republican and critic of former President Donald Trump who is barred from running for a third term as governor, reportedly was recruited by McConnell; former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, McConnell’s wife; Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), who leads the GOP’s Senate campaign arm.
The governor’s decision is a setback to Republicans hoping to unseat Democratic incumbent Chris Van Hollen. Hogan said Tuesday that he believed he would have beaten Van Hollen had he run for Senate.
“But just because you can win a race, doesn’t mean that’s the job you should do if your heart’s not in it,” he added. “And I just didn’t see myself being a US senator.”
The candidate filing deadline is Feb. 22 and no other high-profile Republicans are likely to emerge as contenders in a state President Biden won by 33 percentage points in 2020.
“Senate Republicans are suffering a series of humiliating recruitment failures because their potential candidates know they cannot defeat strong Senate Democrats,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesman David Bergstein said in a statement. “While Senate Democrats are fighting for working families, Republicans are prioritizing the interests of the ultra-wealthy and big corporations that are raising prices on consumers, and potential GOP candidates know this is a contrast that will lead their campaigns to defeat in 2022.”
Hogan is rumored to have his eye on a 2024 bid for the GOP presidential nomination, though he would be a massive underdog against potential candidates such as Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“I’m going to continue to call it like I see it. And I’ll be speaking out about the divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington, and about fixing the broken politics,” Hogan said. “My current job as governor runs until January of 2023 and then we’ll take a look and see what the future holds after that.”
Last November, New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu shocked Republicans when he said he would not try to unseat Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan, but would instead seek a fourth term leading the Granite State.
“My responsibility is not to the gridlock and politics of Washington, it’s for the citizens of New Hampshire,” Sununu said at the time.
With Post wires