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Haley wins backing from ex-Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who won’t mount his own third-party 2024 bid

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday shrugged off speculation about a third-party presidential bid, endorsing Nikki Haley as the Republican candidate, calling it the party's “best chance” to win in November. He said that

Hogan said on CNN's “State of the Union” that she thinks it's “pretty clear” that former President Donald Trump will win Monday's Iowa caucuses, but that Haley has “no momentum” that would make her a strong candidate. There is,” he said.

Hogan, one of Trump's biggest critics in the party, fueled speculation that he was preparing a third-party candidacy of his own when he stepped down as leader of No Labels. . His resignation letter, dated Dec. 15, contained no criticism of the group, and Hogan declined to comment after the letter was obtained by The Associated Press earlier this month.

WATCH: Haley supporters predict Iowa caucus results, reveal who they refused to support as Republican candidate

Hogan said Sunday that he did not intend to fuel rumors that he was planning to run when he left the group, saying he was focused on the Republican effort to “nominate the strongest Republican possible.'' .

“It caused a lot of speculation in a way,” Hogan said. “That was not my intention. My position at No Labels has not changed.”

No Labels is seeking voting access across the United States in preparation for the presidential election. The plan has surprised many Democrats and other Trump critics, saying it will siphon votes that would have gone to Democratic President Joe Biden instead of facilitating Trump's return to the White House. I'm worried about that.

Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, speaking at the Republican Jewish Federation's annual meeting on November 18, 2022, endorsed Nikki Haley for the 2024 Republican nomination. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

Haley and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis are locked in a tight race for second place in Iowa, where leadoff voting for the Republican caucuses will be held Monday night. Final pre-caucus polls by the Des Moines Register and NBC News showed Trump holding a commanding lead in the state, with nearly half of likely caucus attendees supporting him. That compares with 20% for Haley and 16% for DeSantis.

Hogan suggested that Haley's strong second-place finish would build momentum heading into next week's New Hampshire primary, saying, “There's a chance she could win, and that would bring her back home in the South.'' “It will put us in a better position when we move.” Carolina. ”

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Some had previously expected Hogan to seek the Republican nomination himself this year. But Hogan said in an op-ed in March that he would not run because “he cares more about securing the Republican Party's future than he cares about securing his own future in the Republican Party.”

Some Republicans had hoped that Mr. Hogan, who had emerged as a new frontrunner among a small group of “never Trump Republicans,” would challenge Mr. Trump again in 2020. But a year after Hogan was re-elected in 2018, he said he was “evaluating everything.” Despite the “encouragement” he received to run for president, he did not do so. Hogan told the AP that he is not interested in “kamikaze operations.”

Hogan said he did not vote for his party's nominee, Trump, in the past two presidential elections. Hogan said he wrote the letter in 2016 in the name of his father, former U.S. Rep. Larry Hogan Sr., and in 2020 in the name of the late President Ronald Reagan.

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