Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan at an event in Las Vegas on November 18, 2022.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is running for Senate despite trashing the idea last year.”Not a lot gets done in the Senate,” Hogan said in May 2023, reaffirming his decision not to run.He also said that other former governors like him “aren’t really thrilled with the job.”
Just nine months ago, former Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland didn’t have especially nice things to say about the US Senate.
Republicans had been hoping to get him to run not just this year, but during the 2022 cycle.
But Hogan consistently turned his GOP friends down, telling NewsNation in May 2023 that being a senator is “just not something I’ve ever aspired to do.”
“You’re one of 100 people arguing all day,” Hogan said at the time. “Not a lot gets done in the Senate, and most former governors that I know that go into the Senate aren’t really thrilled with the job.”
But Hogan’s had an apparent change of heart.
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. 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. pic.twitter.com/d0TuZchAtN
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) February 9, 2024
On Friday, Hogan announced he will enter the 2024 Maryland Senate race, pitting him against the eventual Democratic nominee in a state that he easily won in 2014 and 2018.
Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, the chairman of Senate Republicans’ campaign arm, quickly issued a statement celebrating Hogan’s decision.
“Governor Hogan is a great leader for Maryland, and that’s why he remains overwhelmingly popular in the state,” said Daines. “We look forward to welcoming him to the United States Senate.”
Yet despite his prior statewide victories, Hogan is likely to face an uphill battle — which he acknowledged himself last year.
“It’s a tough race, and in a presidential year, it makes it even more difficult,” Hogan told NewsNation.
While his support for fiscally conservative but socially liberal policies made him palatable to Democratic voters in the deep-blue state, adding one more GOP vote in the Senate is a different question, which Senate Democrats’ campaign arm quickly noted.
“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,” said Maeve Coyle, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “Democrats have won every statewide federal election in Maryland for 44 years and 2024 will be no different.”
But Hogan’s decision is still a blow to Democrats. At the very least, they’ll have to spend more money to hold the former governor off while the party seeks to defend tougher seats in Ohio and Montana.
If Hogan did somehow make it to the Senate, he’d likely cut an interesting figure: He’s a staunch opponent of former President Donald Trump, and based on his experience as governor, would likely join the ranks of the more dealmaking-inclined Republicans in the chamber.
But those are becoming an increasingly rare breed. Both Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia are not seeking reelection, and Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona is unlikely to win if she chooses to seek re-election.
If Hogan were to be elected, he’d likely join a Senate GOP that’s increasingly dominant by voices aligned with Trump, and would indeed likely be “one of 100 people arguing all day.”