Trump-backed Cox wins Md. gubernatorial major over Hogan’s choose

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Dan Cox, a far-right state lawmaker backed by former President Donald Trump, won Tuesday’s Republican primary for Maryland governor, defeating a moderate rival backed by outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan became.

Cox will face the winner of the hard-fought Democratic primary in November’s general election. Wes Moore, a best-selling author endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, had an early lead Tuesday night, with focus shifting to mail-in ballots that won’t be counted until later in the week.

Though it was a victory for Trump, Cox’s victory over former Hogan cabinet member Kelly Schulz could spell a blow to Republicans’ chances of holding on to the governor’s mansion in November. Barred from running for a third straight term, Hogan was a rare two-year Republican governor in a heavily Democratic state, and he had endorsed Schulz as the successor to his bipartisan leadership style.

Cox has been a thorn in Hogan’s side in recent years, suing in the early days of the pandemic over the governor’s stay-at-home orders and regulations and unsuccessfully attempting to indict him over COVID-19 orders, which Cox described as “restrictive.” and tedious.”

Cox alluded to his fight with Hogan in his Tuesday night victory speech, telling a cheering crowd: “We will never again abandon our bodies, our churches and our businesses to a state of lockdown.”

The Republican primary was seen as a proxy fight between Trump and Hogan, who offered wildly different visions of the party’s future as they pondered campaigning for the 2024 White House. Hogan, one of Trump’s most prominent GOP critics, urged the party to back away from its divisive policies while Trump spent much of his post-presidency time campaigning against candidates who are spreading his lies about a stolen 2020 election.

One such candidate was Cox, who organized busloads of protesters into Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol. Cox also said President Joe Biden’s victory should not have been certified and tweeted that former Vice President Mike Pence was a “traitor.” Cox later deleted the tweet and apologized.

The Democrats were probably giddy over Cox’s victory in the Republican primary. The Democratic Governors Association poured more than $1 million into an ad designed to empower Cox and saw him as an easier opponent in November.

Trump was also delighted, saying in a statement just before the race was announced: “RINO Larry Hogan’s endorsement doesn’t seem to be working out too well for his heavily favored candidate. Next, I would love to see Larry run for President!”

Cox joins Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Darren Bailey in Illinois as ultraconservative lawmakers who are supported by Trump and later won their Republican nominations for governor. All three campaigned against their governors’ COVID-19 policies, staunchly opposed to abortion rights and raised questions about the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

In Maryland, it could potentially take days or even longer to determine the winners in the most competitive races, including the Democratic gubernatorial primary. Maryland law prohibits counties from opening mail-in ballots until the Thursday after Election Day.

In one of the earliest called races of the night, Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen beat back a major challenge just months after suffering a minor stroke. He is favored in November to win a second term against Republican Chris Chaffee, who launched a failed congressional bid in 2014.

Baltimore prosecutor Marilyn Mosby, who is awaiting trial on federal criminal charges, was behind in her triple Democratic primary as she seeks a third term.

Mosby faces charges of perjury and misrepresentation in loan applications to buy Florida real estate. She rose to national prominence in 2015 when she filed criminal charges against six police officers in the death of Freddie Gray, a black man who suffered a spinal injury after police handcuffed him, cuffed him and placed him upside down in a van. None of the officers were convicted.

In the Democratic primary for governor, the frontrunners included Moore, former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, an anti-poverty organization; Tom Perez, former US Secretary of Labor and former leader of the Democratic Party; and Peter Franchot, the state’s four-year state examiner.

Laura Kretchman, a 41-year-old high school teacher, said she voted for Moore, influenced in part by his support from the state teachers’ union. She said she was impressed by Moore’s accomplishments after overcoming childhood challenges and being raised by a single mother.

“I teach kids in a school who are also from difficult backgrounds, so I’d love to see what he can do to help these students who are struggling and challenged,” said Kretchman, an Annapolis resident.

Other voters indicated that they prefer a long résumé in government service. That’s why Curtis Fatig, 67, voted for Perez. “He’s not a novice,” Fatig said.

Cox’s win on Tuesday is a win for Trump, who has a mixed record of confirmation in this year’s midterm election. But in such a heavily democratic state, his candidate faces an uphill battle heading into the fall.

Some Republican voters said Trump’s support convinced them to vote for Cox. Others said it didn’t matter.

David Gateau, 63, said he voted for Cox because he believes “Maryland is extremely liberal and we need to go back to some values.” Trump’s endorsement, he said, isn’t really a factor.

“I think Hogan was more of a RINO than a Republican governor, and I think our state reflects that,” Gateau said.

Cameron Martin, 22, said Trump’s support was the “main reason” he voted for Cox, but added that he felt Cox shared his Republican values ​​and that “he will represent me best.”

Maryland’s only open congressional seat was in the 4th congressional district, a heavily Democratic, black-majority district. Former District Attorney Glenn Ivey won the Democratic primary, defeating former Assemblyman Donna Edwards, who previously held the seat.

4th Circuit incumbent Rep. Anthony Brown left his seat to run for attorney general. He won Tuesday night’s Democratic primary, defeating Katie Curran O’Malley, the former first lady, a former Baltimore judge and the daughter of former Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. Brown was Gov. Martin O’Malley’s lieutenant governor.

Candidates were on the ballot for all 188 seats in the Democratic-controlled Maryland General Assembly.

The Maryland primary was delayed by three weeks because of lawsuits against US Congressional and state maps.


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___ Associated Press writer Michael Kunzelman of Silver Spring contributed to this report.

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