Republican Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland said Sunday that former President Donald Trump has cost the GOP the last three elections and it’s past time to reassess what’s important to the party.
“It’s basically the third election in a row that Donald Trump has cost us the race, and it’s like, three strikes, you’re out,” Hogan said during an appearance on “State of the Union” with CNN’s Dana Bash.
“This should have been a huge red wave. It should have been one of the biggest red waves we’ve ever had,” added Hogan, who was ineligible to run for a third term in Maryland this year. Despite President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings, the governor said his party “still didn’t perform.”
“I think commonsense conservatives that focused on talking about issues people cared about, like the economy and crime and education, they did win,” Hogan said. “But people who tried to relitigate the 2020 election and focused on conspiracy theories … they were all almost universally rejected.”
Hogan famously did not endorse Dan Cox, the Trump-backed Republican nominee to succeed him as Maryland governor. Cox, who had defeated Hogan’s chosen candidate in the GOP primary, has made false claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Democrats went on to reclaim the governorship of deep-blue Maryland last week, CNN projected, with Wes Moore’s election as the state’s first Black governor.
Hogan stressed the importance of Republicans going back to the drawing board to figure out “a more hopeful, positive vision.”
“We have to get back to a party that appeals to more people, that can win in tough places, like I have done in Maryland,” Hogan said.
Trump’s impact on the party was not lost on Hogan.
“There’s no question, he’s still the 800-pound gorilla, and it’s still a battle,” Hogan said.
Asked by Bash if Trump’s looming “special announcement” this week could affect the upcoming Senate runoff in Georgia, Hogan said, “No question about that.”
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will meet in the December 6 runoff after neither candidate were projected to surpass the 50% vote threshold needed to win the primary outright. The Georgia runoff is not expected to affect the race for Senate control, after CNN projected that Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto would win reelection in Nevada, ensuring that Democrats will hold at least 50 seats. (Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, is able to break any 50-50 ties).
Hogan called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “one of the important voices for the party.” DeSantis, who is projected to have comfortably won his bid for a second term last week, is seen as a potential 2024 contender for the GOP presidential contention.
Hogan dodged a question about running for president in 2024, saying, “I still have to do my day job until January 18.”