Trump backs Larry Hogan in Maryland Senate race

Former President Trump has thrown his support behind Republican Larry Hogan in Maryland’s Senate race, even after the former governor drew the ire of Trump allies for urging voters to respect the verdict in Trump’s New York hush money trial.

“Yeah, I’d like to see him win. I think he has a good chance to win,” Trump said when asked whether he was going to support Hogan to win the race, per a clip shared on Fox Business.

“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.

The Trump and Hogan campaigns did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hogan has been an outspoken critic of the former president. He said in March that he won’t vote for Trump in the fall, but would instead seek out a third-party option. He initially endorsed Trump’s ex-rival Nikki Haley for the GOP nod, before she exited the race.

After Trump was found guilty on all counts in the historic Manhattan case, Hogan called on Americans to “respect the verdict and the legal process” and “reaffirm what has made this nation great: the rule of law.”

Chris LaCivita, Trump’s campaign manager, responded by telling Hogan, “You just ended your campaign.” Republican National Committee co-Chair Lara Trump said Hogan “doesn’t deserve the respect of anyone in the Republican Party at this point and, quite frankly, anybody in America.”

But Hogan is running for the Senate as Republicans seek to take control of the upper chamber that Democrats narrowly hold. The GOP recruited the popular former governor of the deep-blue state with hopes that Hogan’s bid gives Republicans the chance of an upset and puts Democrats on the defensive to keep the seat in their column.

The nonpartisan election handicapper Cook Political Report shifted the Maryland seat from “solid” to “likely Democrat” after Hogan jumped in.

Hogan is set to go up this fall against Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D), who beat out fellow Democrat Rep. David Trone (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.

Democrats on Thursday appeared to welcome the former president’s endorsement in Maryland, which voted against Trump’s 2016 and 2020 bids.

“Donald Trump wants Republican Larry Hogan in the Senate,” Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee spokesperson Amanda Sherman Baity said in a statement after reports of the endorsement broke.

“The stakes of this race could not get any higher. Just last week, Senate Republicans shot down access to contraception. Hours ago, Senate Republicans voted against protecting [in vitro fertilization]. And just now, Donald Trump endorsed Larry Hogan so he can have a Republican majority,” Alsobrooks said in a statement.

Julia Manchester contributed.

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