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Hogan stresses his independence from GOP in new ad post-Trump nod of support

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Most Republicans would be racing to include an endorsement from former President Donald Trump in their latest TV ad.

Not Larry Hogan.

Just days after being endorsed by the former president, the Maryland Senate hopeful released a new spot Monday that doesn’t name Trump at all but instead stresses his independence from the GOP. He invokes his father, Larry Hogan Sr., the first GOP congressman on the Judiciary Committee to call for President Richard Nixon’s impeachment, and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who bucked his party to save Obamacare.

“As President Kennedy said, ‘Sometimes party loyalty demands too much,’” Hogan says directly to camera at the close of the ad.

It’s an implicit rebuke of the former president as Hogan seeks to burnish his bipartisan appeal in the deep-blue state of Maryland. And it comes in the wake of Trump endorsing Hogan, somewhat scrambling Hogan’s attempt to distance himself from his party’s leader.

“I’d like to see him win. I think he has a good chance to win, Trump told Fox News’ Aishah Hasnie during a visit to Capitol Hill. “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.”

The former Maryland governor did not seek the endorsement or know about it in advance, according to a person familiar with the campaign. And the campaign’s response to the endorsement didn’t embrace or even acknowledge it — instead saying in a statement: “Governor Hogan has been clear he is not supporting Donald Trump just as he didn’t in 2016 and 2020.”

Hogan has one of the toughest challenges of the cycle, winning a federal office as a Republican in such a blue state. He’s widely popular in Maryland and seen as essentially the only Republican who could potentially flip the Senate seat, and national Republicans are supportive of his effort to win the state without embracing Trump.

But Hogan’s campaign has found itself repeatedly thrust into Trump’s orbit in recent weeks, underscoring the difficult line he must walk. First a top Trump adviser posted on X that Hogan “ended” his campaign because he urged Americans to respect the verdict in Trump’s criminal trial. Then Lara Trump, the co-chair of the Republican National Committee, suggested the national party would not back Hogan’s campaign, drawing outrage from GOP senators.

Hogan has been racing to the center in his battle against Democrat Angela Alsobrooks for retiring Sen. Ben Cardin’s open seat. Hogan came out in support of codifying abortion protections in Roe v. Wade in the days after winning the GOP nomination and said he would not back Trump for president. Democrats have attempted to nationalize the race, making clear that Hogan would caucus with Republicans in the Senate no matter how independent he claims to be.

Hogan’s campaign has watched the Trump-focused headlines about the former governor from afar. His team has not heard directly from Trump’s campaign or the RNC, according to the person familiar with campaign communications.