Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland criticized his party Sunday for being “focused on the wrong things,” saying its preoccupation with the results of the 2020 election is holding it back from having “a positive, hopeful vision for America.”
The comments from Hogan, a moderate Republican who frequently speaks out against his party and former President Donald Trump, come days after he declined to be a candidate for US Senate, disappointing GOP leaders who saw him as the party’s best shot at ousting one of the state’s incumbent Democratic senators.
“I think they’re, you know, sometimes focused on the wrong things. Not just being a roadblock to Biden. I mean there are certain things we want to stand up to President Biden. The inflation is out of control and we’re talking about billions in more spending – trillions of more spending,” Hogan told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”
“We want to make sure that we do stand up and speak out. But I’m concerned that they’re focusing too much on looking at the past and trying to relitigate the last election and arguing about things instead of having a positive, hopeful vision for America,” he added.
Hogan, who is term-limited as governor and will leave office in January 2023, said he was “flattered” that party leaders saw him as possibly being a “voice of reason and sanity in Washington,” but added that he never had a desire to be in the US Senate.
“I have much more power as governor of Maryland and make decisions every day that impact people’s lives. And I like to get things done. And in Washington it seems as if there’s just a lot of divisiveness and dysfunction and not a lot gets done. So it wasn’t the right job, the right fit for me,” he said.
Hogan was first elected governor of Maryland in 2014 and was reelected four years later by more than 10 percentage points. His success in the heavily Democratic state, plus the perceived weakness of Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen, had prompted repeated overtures by GOP leaders to get the governor to run for Senate this year.
Hogan has hinted at larger ambitions than Capitol Hill.
When asked Sunday if he’s considering a 2024 presidential bid, he replied: “We’re certainly going to take a look at it after January of ’23.”
“I’m concerned about the direction of the party and the country. And I’ll make a decision about 2024 after I finish this job,” he said.
CNN’s Michael Warren contributed to this report.