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Five things to know about Dan Cox, Maryland’s GOP nominee for governor

Associated Press/Brian Witte

Dan Cox won the Republican primary Tuesday to become the GOP’s nominee for governor in Maryland, setting the stage for a showdown between him and the still-undeclared Democratic candidate.

Cox ran a successful primary campaign, defeating one opponent, Kelly Schulz, by tens of thousands of votes in the primary battle.

Here’s what we know about the candidate.

He’s a Trump ally and 2020 election denier

Former President Trump endorsed Cox in November, calling him an ‘America First Patriot” who “fought against the Rigged Presidential Election.”

Cox readily accepted the endorsement and shared it on Facebook.

“I am truly humbled and honored and will continue to stand with President Trump for lower taxes, school choice, no more lockdowns, for our veterans and Blue Line, for election integrity and to fix the 2020 elections,” Cox wrote.

Cox enthusiastically joined Trump’s unfounded claims that the 2020 election was stolen. He helped organize buses to take Trump supporters to Washington, D.C., for a “Stop the Steal” rally that eventually morphed into a full assault on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

He also tweeted “Pence is a traitor” on Jan. 6, joining a fever of calls denouncing then-Vice President Mike Pence because he refused to overturn the presidential election certification.

Cox later apologized for the tweet and spoke out against the mob violence at the Capitol.

He has a long history in Maryland politics

Cox, 47, was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Taneytown, Md., in rural Carroll County.

He graduated with a degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland, University College in 2002 and earned a law degree from the Regent University School of Law in 2006.

From 2007 to 2009, Cox was the president of the town commission of Secretary, a small town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, which straddles the Chesapeake Bay.

Cox eventually ran for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in 2016, winning the GOP nomination but losing to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) in the general election.

He was elected to Maryland’s House of Delegates in 2019 to serve as a Republican representative for Frederick and Carroll counties.

Cox tried to impeach current Gov. Larry Hogan

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Hogan worked to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus by locking down the state and implementing restrictions on businesses, much like other governors did in 2020 and 2021.

Cox introduced articles of impeachment in February 2022, accusing Hogan of trampling on the freedoms of Americans because of these lockdowns.

A Maryland House committee rejected the attempted impeachment in March. Cox argued at the March hearing that Hogan had abused his power as governor, according to Maryland Matters.

“No man, not even the president of the United States, is above the law,” Cox said. “There is no king here in Maryland.”

Hogan, a moderate Republican who is stepping down from the governor’s mansion after two terms, endorsed Schulz.

The sitting governor is a frequent critic of Trump. After Tuesday’s election, Hogan said he will not support Cox, who he has called a “QAnon conspiracy theorist,” in the general election

He’s a former teacher with 9 kids

Before getting involved in Maryland politics, Cox was a high school teacher from 1995 to 2005 at Walkersville Christian Family Schools in Frederick County.

He also served in the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and is married with nine children.

Cox established his own law practice and is registered with the Maryland Bar Association.

The nominee faces an uphill battle in deep blue Maryland

Maryland is a blue state, with only one district that swings Republican. In the 2020 election, President Biden won more than 65 percent of the vote in Maryland.

While Hogan secured two terms to the governor’s mansion as a Republican, he won independents and even some Democrats over as a moderate.

While Cox’s endorsement from Trump helped propel him to victory in the primary, Trump is widely unpopular among Democrats in the state, especially after the rioting on Jan. 6 and the House select committee’s ongoing investigation into the incident.

The votes for the Democratic nominee are still being counted and it’s unclear who the GOP nominee will face, but leading candidates Wes Moore, Peter Franchot and Tom Perez would all enjoy a cushion of support in blue Maryland over Cox.

Democrats poured big money into the GOP primary in order to see Cox as the nominee, as they believe he will be easily defeated by their candidate.

Tags dan cox dan cox Governor gubernatorial race Larry Hogan Maryland
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