Hogan’s new ad stresses independence days after Trump endorsement

Maryland GOP Senate candidate Larry Hogan distanced himself from former President Trump in a new ad released Monday, stressing his political independence.

The move comes just days after Trump endorsed Hogan in his race against Democrat Angela Alsobrooks.

“Strong, independent leaders can make a difference,” Hogan says in the 30-second ad. “That’s exactly what Washington needs today.”

The former Maryland governor has worked to paint himself as a moderate in his Senate race, building off two popular terms and his post-Annapolis reputation as a lead anti-Trump Republican.

Hogan backed Nikki Haley in the GOP primary this year and said in February that even being on the same ballot as Trump in November would be a “big challenge.” He said he will not vote for Trump this fall.

The ad features Hogan holding up examples of bipartisan moments in GOP history. The list included his father, Rep. Larry Hogan Sr. (R-Md.), calling on former President Nixon to be impeached; the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) voting to save the Affordable Care Act; and Hogan’s own work as governor during the COVID pandemic.

He capped the ad with a quote from former President Kennedy: “Sometimes party loyalty demands too much.”

Trump’s endorsement came as a surprise to some after the Trump camp attacked Hogan for not being critical of the former president’s conviction on felony charges earlier this month. Hogan called on leaders to “reaffirm … the rule of law” in the wake of the ruling, which brought harsh criticism from Trump allies.

“You just ended your campaign,” Trump campaign manager Chris LaCivita said.

But just weeks later, Trump put his backing behind Hogan in the critical race, which could tip the balance in the Senate majority.

“Yeah, I’d like to see him win. I think he has a good chance to win,” Trump said of Hogan in a Fox News interview released Thursday.

“We gotta take the majority. We have to straighten out our country. So I’d like to see him win. He’s somebody that can win … I know other people made some strong statements, but I can just say from my standpoint, I’m about the party, and I’m about the country,” Trump told reporter Aishah Hasnie.

Hogan will face Alsobrooks, the Prince George’s County executive who beat Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) in a contentious primary.

Polling averages from Decision Desk HQ/The Hill, based on five polls in the state, show the pair at a virtual tie, with Alsobrooks less than a point ahead — though a forecast model puts Alsobrooks as the clear favorite to win November’s head-to-head match-up.

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