Former Gov. Hogan Running For US Senate

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Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, pictured above in 2021, announced Friday that he is running for the United States Senate. The Republican served two terms as governor and bills himself as a moderate. (Jacob Baumgart/Patch)

Patch reporter Megan VerHelst wrote this story.

MARYLAND — Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, on Friday announced he is running for the U.S Senate, according to a post on social media.

Hogan is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Democrat Ben Cardin, who announced in May 2023 that he wouldn't seek re-election.

"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," Hogan posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. "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." 

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Hogan's decision to run for Senate will give Republicans a prominent candidate and well-position the GOP to run a competitive campaign in a state that hasn't had a Republican U.S. senator in 37 years.

The decision marks a surprise turnaround for Hogan, a moderate who once considered a presidential bid.

Hogan left the governor's office in February 2023 because of term limits though poll numbers showed he remained one of the nation's most popular governors. The moderate Republican received generally positive remarks for his leadership during the coronavirus pandemic and his push to get Marylanders vaccinated and cut taxes.

During Hogan's tenure as governor, he became a national figure as one of the rare Republicans willing to criticize Donald Trump. Last month, Hogan stepped down from the leadership of the third-party movement No Labels.

“My fellow Marylanders: you know me," Hogan begins in a video released by his Senate campaign. “For eight years, we proved that the toxic politics that divide our nation need not divide our state."

The former governor added that he decided to run for Senate “not to serve one party, but to try to be part of the solution: to fix our nation’s broken politics and fight for Maryland."

"The willingness to put country over party is far too rare," Hogan said. "We need leaders willing to stand up to both parties."

In 2022, Hogan rebuffed an aggressive push from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans to run against Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen.

When he announced his decision not to run for Senate two years ago, Hogan expressed confidence he could win. “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. And I just didn’t see myself being a U.S. senator,” he said then.

The former two-term governor who left office early last year will be running for an open seat due to the retirement of Sen. Ben Cardin. Hogan made his Senate bid known just hours before Maryland's filing deadline.

The rarely open Maryland Senate seat already has drawn U.S. Rep. David Trone into the Democratic primary, as well as Angela Alsobrooks, the county executive of Prince George's County in the suburbs of the nation's capital. Trone, the wealthy founder of a chain of liquor stores called Total Wine & More, has poured $23 million of his own money into his campaign so far.

Seven Republicans have filed to enter the GOP primary, but none is as well known as the former governor. Hogan was only the second Republican governor to ever win reelection in Maryland, a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

He won his first term as governor in 2014 in an upset, using public campaign financing against a better-funded candidate. Running on fiscal concerns as a moderate Republican businessman, Hogan tapped into voter frustration over a series of tax and fee increases to defeat then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown.

Hogan, who had never held elected office before, focused on pocketbook issues from the outset. He lowered tolls, an action he could take without approval from the General Assembly, long controlled by Democrats. But he also faced challenges, including unrest in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody in 2015. Hogan sent the National Guard to help restore order.

In June of that year, Hogan was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma but continued working while receiving treatment. He has been in remission since November 2015.

Maryland’s last Republican U.S. senator was Charles Mathias, who served in the Senate from 1969 to 1987. Mathias was known as a liberal Republican who often clashed with his party over issues such as the Vietnam War and civil rights.

Associated Press reporter Brian Witte also contributed to this report.

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If you recall VanHollen was a Maryland state delegate, who gerrymandered the district he ran in for a congressional seat. Then when Barbara Mikulski decided to retire, she gave her senate seat to VanHollen, over Donna Edwards the democrat woman of color he was "running against". Strange how a long time powerful "female" senator endorsed a man to take her seat? So the question will be, who has Cardin decided to turn his seat over to? This should be very interesting, very interesting.

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