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WASHINGTON — Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Monday that he decided to run for his state’s Senate seat this year when Senate Republicans recently killed the bipartisan border measure after former President Donald Trump told them to block it.

“It’s why I decided to run for Senate,” Hogan, a moderate Republican and Trump critic, said in an interview with MSNBC Live’s Luke Russert at the network’s inaugural live event in downtown Washington.

“Actually, I had never given any consideration to this race,” Hogan said. “I’d said 100 times I didn’t aspire to become a senator. I didn’t need a job. I wasn’t looking for another title, but three weeks ago on a Wednesday night, when I saw a real solution to secure the border and provide funding for Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan — something that most of the Republican senators had said was, all those things were important, and they were told to vote against what they believed in — it made me frustrated and angry enough to say, I think I’m gonna go down there and try to do something about this.”

Republicans blocked the border bill, whose chief GOP negotiator was Sen. James Lankford, of Oklahoma, in early February.

Asked if he’s surprised that Senate Republicans haven’t been supportive of Ukraine, Hogan said that he doesn’t understand this “new strain of isolationism in the Republican Party.” He warned that if the U.S. doesn’t help Ukraine now, it’s going to put Americans in a much worse situation, adding that he also doesn’t understand the “Putin sympathizers” in the GOP.

“I think if we don’t do something to help Ukraine right now, then we’re going to be forced to send American soldiers because we’re going to be defending NATO countries,” he said.

Hogan said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who said last week that he’s stepping down from his leadership role in November, didn’t help recruit him to run. He said Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., who chairs the National Republican Senatorial Committee, put on a “full court press” and had a dozen or so senators call him. Former Vice President Mike Pence also called him, he said. But he said it was a former president who ultimately persuaded him to enter the race.

“Probably the most convincing guy was George Bush, who called me and said that he thought that I had an important voice that was needed for the party,” Hogan said. “He thought that there was a missing voice for our party to get back on track to the more Reagan-esque bigger-tent party. And he said, you know, even though you probably don’t want to be a senator, we need you.”

Hogan launched his campaign on Feb. 9 and immediately became the front-runner for his party’s nomination to fill the seat held by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., who’s retiring from Congress. The Democratic candidates include Rep. David Trone, D-Md., and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.



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