By Rashard Rose, CNN

(CNN) — Maryland GOP Senate candidate Larry Hogan said on Thursday that he has “no interest” in former President Donald Trump’s endorsement in the race after the presumptive GOP nominee said last week that he “would like to see” the former governor win.

Asked if he rejects the endorsement, Hogan told CNN affiliate WTOP radio in an interview, “Well, I just said I didn’t seek it. I didn’t want to have it. And I have no interest in it.”

He continued: “It’s not something we’re going to be promoting, that’s for sure. In a state that Donald Trump lost by 33 points, it doesn’t really carry a lot of voters over to our cause. So I don’t think we’re going to have any interest in accepting it.”

The former two-term governor, who left office with high approval ratings in the deep blue state, has been a critic of Trump and has been working to distance himself from the national GOP in his race against Democrat Angela Alsobrooks. Trump’s embrace of Hogan was welcome news to Democrats, who believe they can defend the seat of retiring Sen. Ben Cardin by arguing that Hogan would be another GOP vote for Trump’s agenda in the Senate.

Last week, after Trump told a Fox News reporter he would like to see Hogan win, he was asked if he was endorsing the Maryland Republican. “Well, nobody’s asked me that, but essentially, I would be endorsing him, yeah,” Trump said, according to a clip of the interview aired by Fox News.

Hogan’s campaign responded to those comments with a statement that tried to highlight his separation from Trump. “Governor Hogan has been clear he is not supporting President Trump just as he didn’t in 2016 and 2020,” Michael Ricci, a spokesman for Hogan, said at the time.

Trump’s comments came after his allies slammed Hogan for saying Americans should “respect the verdict” in Trump’s New York hush money trial shortly before it was delivered.

“We were just a little bit surprised,” Hogan said Thursday about the former president’s wish for him to win the Senate contest, calling it “a weak, half-hearted endorsement” while downplaying its impact on the race.

Hogan added: “It also was a surprise because for a few weeks before that, they were sort of saying just the opposite. We were getting blown up by Trump’s campaign manager and his daughter-in-law who was running the RNC saying really bad things about me and then, all of a sudden, Donald Trump switched gears and started saying nice things about me.”

The-CNN-Wire
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