Larry Hogan, the former two-term Republican governor of Maryland who this week won his party’s nomination for the state’s open Senate seat, said in an interview on Thursday that he supports legislation to codify abortion rights in federal law, describing himself as “pro-choice” in a remarkable pivot as he heads into a highly competitive race.

Mr. Hogan, who just two years ago vetoed a state law to expand abortion access in Maryland, also said he would vote to enshrine abortion rights in the state’s Constitution, a measure that will be on the ballot in November. He had previously declined to take a clear stance on either issue.

“I support restoring Roe as the law of the land,” Mr. Hogan said, referring to the now-overturned 1973 decision establishing abortion rights. “I’ll continue to protect the rights of women to make their own reproductive choices just like I did as governor for eight years. I think Marylanders know and trust that when I give them my word, I’m going to keep it, and I’ve protected these rights before. And I’ll do it again in the Senate by supporting a bipartisan compromise to restore Roe as the law of the land.”

Asked whether he viewed himself as “pro-life” or “pro-choice,” Mr. Hogan said, “Given the definition of what I’m supporting — women’s rights to make their own decision — I would say that’s pro-choice.”

It was a major tack to the left for Mr. Hogan, a Catholic who has long said his personal beliefs about abortion would not interfere with his stance that the issue is settled in state law. The move came as the former governor is heading into a challenging general election campaign in the solidly Democratic state of Maryland whose outcome could determine which party controls the Senate.

Democrats have made it clear that they plan to spotlight their party’s backing for abortion rights — and Republicans’ record of opposing access — as a central plank of their campaign for control of Congress, and they have already begun hammering Mr. Hogan on the issue. In 2022, he vetoed a bill to broaden abortion access in Maryland by allowing medical professionals other than physicians to perform them, which was enacted when the legislature overrode him.

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