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Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland on Tuesday officially ruled out a run for the Senate this year.
But the term-limited governor – who’s in his eighth and final year steering the blue state of Maryland – left the door wide open to a potential 2024 GOP presidential nomination bid.
Hogan, who’s been courted by some top Senate Republicans in the nation’s capital to launch a GOP challenge against Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen in the 2022 midterm elections, made his announcement near the end of a news conference in Maryland’s state capital city of Annapolis.
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“I want to put to rest a question that some of you have been asking me,” the governor said. “I want to let you know that I will not be a candidate for the United States Senate.”
“I sincerely appreciate all the people who have been encouraging me, encouraging me to consider it. 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 reason to consider it, “Hogan explained.
But the governor added that “as I have repeatedly said, I do not aspire to be a United States senator, and that fact has not changed over the past week as I was working on my state of the state address.”
Hogan noted that when he “pledged to the people of Maryland that I was going to give this job as governor, everything I’ve got every single day that I have been given, I meant it. And that commitment is far more important to me than any political campaign. “
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Hogan becomes the second high-profile potential GOP recruit who’s decided against running for the Senate. Republican Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who like Hogan faced a full court press from Senate Republican leadership to launch a Senate campaign, in November announced that he would run for reelection rather than challenge Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.
But unlike Sununu, who did not give Senate Republican leaders in Washington a heads up before he made his news, Hogan noted that in the hours ahead of his public announcement he informed longtime Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Rick Scott, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), of his decision. Hogan added that “I reached out to (GOP Sens.) Mitt Romney and Susan Collins and a number of others and let them know of my decision.”
Asked about the Hogan news, McConnell told reporters “he would have been a great candidate for the Senate. He’s been a terrific governor.”
But McConnell stressed that the midterms “will be a referendum on the performance of this all Democratic government, and I’m highly optimistic that we’re going to have a very good year this fall.”
Reacting to the news, the rival Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee charged that “Senate Republicans are suffering a series of humiliating recruitment failures because their potential candidates know they cannot defeat strong Senate Democrats.”
Responding, a source with the NRSC told Gadget Clock that “the fact that Democrats were worried about a race in Maryland says everything you need to know about their chances of holding the Senate this cycle.”
Hogan, a vocal Republican critic of former President Donald Trump, appeared to leave the door wide open to a possible run for his party’s 2024 presidential nomination.
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The governor said his decision not to run for the Senate this year “does not mean that I plan to sit on the sidelines when it comes to the serious challenges facing our country and our democracy. I’m going to continue to call it like I see it, and I’ll keep speaking out about the divisiveness and dysfunction in Washington and about fixing the broken politics. ”
And looking ahead, he noted that “My current job as governor runs until January 2023, and then we’ll take a look and see what the future holds after that.”