Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Dan Cox wins GOP nomination for Maryland governor as Donald Trump hands foe Larry Hogan an embarrassing defeat

Dan Cox will be the 2022 Republican nominee for governor in Maryland, based on election results at this hour, with 2048 out of 2074 election day precinct vote totals counted so far. Gov. Larry Hogan was handed a doubly-embarrassing defeat, as Cox was endorsed by Hogan's likely 2024 presidential election rival Donald Trump, and Hogan's endorsee Kelly Schulz was rejected by a majority of Republican voters statewide. Wes Moore has a comfortable lead in the crowded Democratic race at this hour. 

Cox's win was authoritative, currently standing at 56.23% over Schulz's 40.26%, with mail-in ballots still pending. He even won 52.23% support among Montgomery County Republicans, in current voting results here. 

The numbers indicate that Trump is, if anything, even more popular among Maryland Republicans than when he first ran in 2016. In Montgomery County, an increasing trend of moderate GOP voters switching parties to vote in the Democratic primary for County offices may have also benefitted Cox to the detriment of Schulz - the impact can be seen in Cox's decisive win, and in former Republican David Blair's slight lead in the Democratic race for County Executive.

Hogan's increasingly-caustic attacks on Trump over the last six years, which helped him earn bipartisan support and reelection in a blue state, have finally caught up to him. The results so far are a rebuke of Hogan by the Maryland GOP base, who also opposed his school closure lockdown policies during the pandemic. Some are also asking why Hogan spent the final days before the election campaigning for president outside of Maryland, instead of barnstorming the state with Schulz. If Hogan can't carry Republicans in his own state, his 2024 GOP primary prospects elsewhere in the country look bleak indeed at the moment.

Cox helped himself in the final weeks by pressing kitchen table issues like inflation, schools, and gas prices alongside his other popular talking points, and by giving one of his strongest speeches of the year during a tele-rally with Trump, which had a huge audience of voters and media listening. Experts are currently predicting another surge in the price of oil in October, in the closing weeks of the general election campaign. That could help Cox with independents, as could the questionable ability of President Joe Biden to give any boost to the Democratic nominee among independents by campaigning here in the fall. But Cox will face tropical-force winds from the national and local press, whose headlines are already dominated by the attacks Hogan and Schulz deployed in the primary against him.

In the Democratic race, Moore's outsider resume, energetic campaign and Oprah endorsement have boosted him statewide so far. He is currently in first place with 36.75%. Unlike the jurisdictional harmony in the GOP race, Montgomery County Democrats supported county resident Tom Perez over Moore 2 to 1, in results so far. Moore is currently is 2nd place in Montgomery County results. 

Peter Franchot has had a day almost as miserable as Hogan. Franchot was cast as the shoo-in favorite in the Democratic race years before the first vote was cast, and before Moore was even on anyone's radar. On paper, Franchot's slightly more moderate views and teamwork with Hogan made him seem to be a solid choice in a state where Republicans have a real chance to take the governor's seat every time. In the actual election, however, Franchot is a distant third currently in both county and state results.

Photo via Dan Cox for Governor

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