In a surprising 11th-hour decision, former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced on Friday that he will run for the Senate seat left open by outgoing three-term Democrat Ben Cardin. Hogan, a socially moderate Republican who departed the governor’s mansion in 2023 with an approval rating just shy of 80%, is by far the most formidable candidate the GOP could have corralled into the race. But flipping a federal office in Maryland — a state that opted for President Joe Biden by 33 points in 2020 — remains an uphill climb for Republicans, regardless of Hogan’s robust personal brand.

Hogan’s announcement video leans into the familiar bipartisan rhetoric that powered his initial 2014 gubernatorial stunner over then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. Pledging to “work with anyone who wants to do the people’s business,” Hogan is already playing up his popular economic record of cutting taxes, balancing the budget and creating a record surplus as governor — all efforts that required skillful compromise with Maryland’s Democratic-dominated General Assembly. He also references his independent-minded father, three-term Rep. Lawrence Hogan, who was an early Republican

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