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Larry Hogan says splitting anti-Trump vote ‘pretty good reason’ not to run

Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has cautioned that fears of splitting the anti-Trump opposition within the GOP would be a “pretty good reason” to consider when weighing a 2024 presidential bid.

The blue-state Republican, fresh out of office after eight years as a popular governor, has been publicly hinting for months that he may run for president. But on Sunday, he seemed to lend credence to the idea that too many Republican candidates entering the 2024 field could crowd out any Republican who has a shot of dethroning the former president.

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“If you thought your candidacy was going to contribute to inadvertently helping Donald Trump, would that be a reason not to run?” asked NBC’s Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd.

“That would be a pretty good reason to consider not running, absolutely,” Mr Hogan responded. “I mean, I don't care that much about my future in the Republican Party; I care about making sure we have a future for the Republican Party. And if we can stop Donald Trump and elect a great Republican common-sense conservative leader, that certainly would be a factor.”

Mr Trump remains the heavy favourite in polling to win the 2024 Republican nomination. Some polling has shown Florida Gov Ron DeSantis winning a head-to-head matchup against the former president, but at least one other Republican — Nikki Haley — has announced her intention to be a candidate for the nomination as well.

Complicating the issue for the right: No Republican other than Mr DeSantis has consistently polled above 10 per cent in surveys of the 2024 GOP electorate.

GOP pundits like CNN’s Ana Navarro have blamed the crowded Republican field in 2016 for Donald Trump’s rise to power in the first place. The mainstream news media has also been hit with its fair share of criticism for giving the now-former president’s speeches and other antics undue airtime.

With Ms Haley’s entrance in the field this past week, fears of that happening again are already rising on the right. The Independent’s Eric Garcia was one of many who hypothesised that her candidacy could end up hurting Mr DeSantis or whoever ends up being the most credible alternative to Mr Trump most of all.

Mr Hogan saw his home state of Maryland fall back into Democratic hands at the executive level in November after a right-winger aligned with Mr Trump, Dan Cox, won his party’s primary over Mr Hogan’s chosen successor.