Cox declared winner of GOP primary for governor

Of the. Dan Cox, seeking the Republican nomination for governor of Maryland, gives two thumbs up as he walks into the Emmitsburg Ambulance Co. for his primary night on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Ric Dugan/The Frederick News-Post.

Of the. Dan Cox declared victory Tuesday night in the Republican gubernatorial primary, and multiple news outlets are also calling him the winner — an incredible repudiation of the state’s popular Republican governor, Lawrence J. Hogan Jr.

With 1,928 of 2,074 precincts on Election Day as of 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Cox had 129,152 votes, good for 56.2% of the vote against 92,723 votes or 40.35% for the preferred candidate of Hogan, the former secretary to the Commerce of Maryland Kelly Schulz. While the margin could shrink depending on the number of mail-in ballots, Cox appears headed for the general election — most likely against author and former nonprofit CEO Wes Moore, who was leading the Democratic primary. Libertarian, Green and Labor parties will also field candidates in the general election.

Cox, who was endorsed early on by former President Trump, touted the result as a victory for freedom and for an “America First and Maryland First” agenda.

“We will never again leave our bodies, our churches and our businesses in a state of confinement,” he told 150 jubilant supporters of the Emmitsburg Ambulance Co. in Frederick County.

As four Republican candidates battled to replace the time-limited Hogan, it appears the governor’s intraparty rival, Trump, has firmly taken control of the state’s GOP electorate.

The Associated Press called the Republican primary for Cox, who completes his first term as Frederick County representative in the House of Delegates, shortly after 11 p.m.

At that time, Cox led the Hogan-endorsed Schulz in the results of early votes and Election Day returns by a margin of more than 33,908 votes.

Former Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz addresses the crowd on her election night in Annapolis. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Shortly before, Schulz had addressed the crowd on her election watch party, urging caution as the votes were still being counted.

“As you all know, right now we’re behind in this race, but it’s not over. It’s not over by a long shot,” she told the crowd at a park in Annapolis corporate offices.

Schulz estimated there would be more than 40,000 mail-in ballots for election officials to count starting Thursday. As of Monday, the state had received more than 38,311 mail-in ballots from Republican voters.

“The only thing that matters in American democracy is the vote count. And count them correctly. And in America and in Maryland, we count every vote,” Schulz said.

During his victory speech, Cox thanked, in order, “my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” his wife Valerie, and Trump.

“President Trump didn’t have to come alongside an outsider, a newcomer, so to speak,” Cox said. “He knew the odds. Look how much we’ve been spent – something like $4 million to $600,000.

Trump, Cox continued, “believed in the mission, he believed in the vision.”

Every mention of Trump drew prolonged chants of “USA! UNITED STATES! USA!” from the crowd.

Cox may also have benefited in the primary from a $1 million investment the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) made for television ads that appeared to attack the lawmaker, but actually highlighted some of his rhetoric and positions in a way that might appeal to conservative Republican voters. Most Democrats — and many Republicans — think Cox will be easier to defeat in the fall than Schulz would have been.

The DGA released a statement late Tuesday calling Cox’s agenda “dangerous” and vowing to hold him “accountable,” just as it did in the GOP primary.

“Dan Cox is a Q-Anon conspiracy theorist with a track record of being an unfit extremist – and that’s exactly what fellow Maryland Republicans like Larry Hogan have said about him,” said Noam Lee, executive director of the DGA, in a press release. . “His record includes busing insurgents to the deadly January 6 rally and treating Mike Pence as a traitor as he sought to completely ban abortion with no exceptions and make it easier for people to carry guns. criminals. We can’t let Dan Cox turn Maryland into MAGAland.

Even though DGA ads helped Democrats win in November, some Democrats were uncomfortable with the committee’s decision to invest money to boost a candidate with such a conservative agenda that challenged the veracity of the 2020 presidential election result. But Cox said Tuesday night that he thought his message could appeal to Democrats and independents and not just conservative Republicans.

“All of Maryland yearns for freedom – people from all walks of life, from all parties,” he said. “I’m reaching out to Democrats and Independents, of all parties… so that everyone can once again understand and trust our government.”

Cox predicted that after years of COVID-19-related public health restrictions, Democratic voters may be willing to turn their backs on some of their candidates.

“Although we don’t yet know who my opponent is, everyone [in the Democratic gubernatorial primary]unfortunately, said he was on the side of a larger government.

Cox compared his campaign operation to that of Schulz.

“They spent a million dollars on their staff and my daughters worked for free,” he said – a reference in particular to one girl, Patience Faith, who took on several key roles in his campaign and was a host election night. .

Curiously, Cox’s running mate, attorney Gordana Schifanelli, did not attend the campaign’s victory celebration Tuesday night. Cox told reporters that Schifanelli was in the middle of a three-day trial on the East Coast and was unable to travel to western Maryland.

“She’s excited,” he said.

During his speech to supporters Tuesday night, Schulz also drew comparisons to Cox and his campaign.

“We ran a campaign based on the truth and the issues that really matter to the people of Maryland. … Most importantly, we have never, ever lied to our supporters. We never told them things that weren’t true,” Schulz said. “We respected them for knowing the difference between what’s real and what’s not and for making the smart, conservative choice. I will never regret campaigning this way.

Schulz reiterated his commitment to traditional Republican Party ideals and avoided efforts to sow mistrust in the election and spread misinformation.

“My Republican party is the party of Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and John McCain,” she said. “And that’s exactly the party I will continue to fight for.”

But this type of GOP seems increasingly disfavored by rank-and-file Republicans — despite Hogan’s huge popularity with voters at large. And even though Schulz used many of the same consultants as Hogan, his popularity was not transferable — and recent polls have suggested that if Hogan is popular with Republicans in Maryland, Trump is viewed even more favorably.

Another Trump-aligned candidate, former Anne Arundel County Councilman Michael Peroutka, appears to be heading for victory in the GOP primary for attorney general over Hogan’s choice, former prosecutor Jim Shalleck. Peroutka was leading 58% to 42% at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Hogan also endorsed political newcomer Matthew Foldi in the 6th District congressional primary, but he was defeated by Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington), a social conservative making his second run for the seat.

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