Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) officially declined to run for Senate Tuesday, putting an end to a high-profile pressure campaign spearheaded by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
“My current job as governor runs until 2023, and then we’ll take a look and see what the future holds after that,” he said.
The Republican pressure campaign reportedly included pitches from McConnell’s wife and former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao over lunch with Hogan’s wife, Yumi Hogan. Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), head of the party’s Senate campaign arm, had multiple conversations with Hogan and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) reached out to him directly to urge him to run, according to the Associated Press.
Hogan hadn’t been publicly coy with his disinterest in the role, even while he had conversations with Republican recruiters.
“I don’t have a burning desire to serve in the U.S. Senate, and I do have a burning desire to continue to focus on this job completely every day, and that’s what we are doing,” he said at a press conference in January.
Hogan took a little swipe at the upper chamber in his Tuesday comments officially putting the rumors to rest.
“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,” he said.
It brings to mind another recent gubernatorial statement, when New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu (R) also rejected Senate Republicans’ courtship; they had hoped to lure him into the race against Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH).
“I’d rather push myself 120 miles an hour delivering wins for New Hampshire than to slow down, end up on Capitol Hill debating partisan politics without results,” Sununu said at a live streamed event in November announcing his reelection campaign for governor. “That’s why I’m going to run for a fourth term.”
While Hogan is popular and would have forced Democrats to spend resources defending a seat in a very blue state, Sununu would have posed an even bigger threat to a Democratic incumbent who only won her seat by about 1,000 votes in 2016.
Republicans are pushing hard to retake the upper chamber in 2022, which Democrats currently control in a 50-50 split. But the dysfunction of the chamber, paralyzed by the filibuster and hyper-partisanship, has so far turned off at least a couple of candidates who would have eased their task.