Larry Hogan, the former Republican governor of the heavily blue state of Maryland, has announced he is running for the US Senate, saying that he’ll “stand up to both parties” if elected.
“I am running for the United States Senate – not to serve one party – but to stand up to both parties, fight for Maryland, and fix our nation’s broken politics,” Mr Hogan wrote on X as he shared his intention to run.
“It’s what I did as Maryland’s governor, and it’s exactly how I’ll serve Maryland in the Senate. Let’s get back to work.”
The popular former governor shared a video, where he announced: “We desperately need leaders willing to stand up to both parties — leaders that appreciate that no one of us has all the answers or all the power, because this is not just about the differences between the right and the left.
“This is about the difference between right and wrong.”
Mr Hogan is set to file the official paperwork ahead of the state’s deadline on Friday.
The former two-term state executive’s new bid could give the Republicans an unexpected gain in their already strong chances to take back the US Senate from Democrats.
The Cook Political Report has rated Mr Cardin’s seat as “solid Democrat” but Mr Hogan’s candidacy could upend expectations considering his high approval rating in the state.
Now, Mr Hogan is seen as a heavy favourite to win the Republican senate nomination, and he looks set to go up against either US Representative David Trone or Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks on the Democratic side.
Mr Hogan’s announcement comes after extensive persuasion efforts by the National Republican Senatorial Committee and the panel’s chair Montana Senator Steve Daines, The Hill noted.
The 67-year-old has also recently spoken to South Dakota Senator John Thune about a possible run.
Mr Hogan left the governor’s mansion in Maryland last year with a 77 per cent approval rating after having served two terms, starting in 2015. He’s running to take over the seat of retiring Democratic Maryland Senator Ben Cardin, 80.
Last year, Mr Hogan ruled out running for the senate during an interview with NewsNation, and also made public comments about considering a third-party presidential run.
The last time Maryland backed a Republican in a presidential race was in 1988 when it supported then-Vice President George HW Bush in his race against Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee responded to Mr Hogan’s announcement, focusing not on the former governor, but instead on the prospect of possibly handing control of the upper chamber back to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
"A vote for Republican Larry Hogan is a vote to make Mitch McConnell Majority Leader and turn the Senate over to Republicans so they can pass a national abortion ban. Democrats have won every statewide federal election in Maryland for 44 years and 2024 will be no different,” spokesperson Maeve Coy said.