As Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan makes his exit from office, the Trump-endorsed Republican nominee in the race to replace him looks set for a resounding defeat.
A new poll conducted by Goucher College in partnership with a pair of Maryland news organizations found Republican nominee Dan Cox a full 22 percent behind Democratic pick Wes Moore. Moore had 53 percent, and Cox had 31 percent. Cox’s background includes time in the Maryland state legislature where he pushed along an effort to impeach Hogan, while Moore is a veteran and anti-poverty advocate, among other work. In office, Hogan has repeatedly expressed criticism of Trump, and as Liz Cheney’s case proves, that’s really the crux of what matters to Trump and thereby is helping drive recent developments in the GOP. Cheney is a committed conservative, and her voting record in Congress reflects that stance, but she acknowledged the serious danger of Trump’s lies about the election, and poof, she lost her primary. Policy barely even matters to Trump’s considerations.
From Trump’s vantage point, there are other positive elements to Cox’s background. He attended the January 6 rally in D.C. where the then-president spoke ahead of the violent breach of the Capitol by his supporters, some of whom were hunting prominent federal leaders, and more broadly, Cox has expressed support for conspiracy theories about the last presidential election. Cox also pushed back against restrictions related to the spread of COVID-19. “As a State Delegate, Dan stood up to Hogan when he was supporting and meeting with Joe Biden,” Trump said in his endorsement of Cox from last November “He supports our Military, our great Vets, our Second Amendment, which is under attack like never before, and importantly, is very strong on Election Integrity. He fought against the Rigged Presidential Election every step of the way, and will bring secure Elections back to Maryland.” Maryland elections, like those elsewhere in the country, are already secure.
As summarized in The Baltimore Banner, which is one of the news outlets involved in the new Maryland polling, one of the key issues for Cox’s campaign is that he isn’t making political inroads with Democrats, who significantly outnumber Republicans in terms of party affiliation in Maryland. Cox got the support of just 6 percent of Democratic respondents in the new state polling. Relatedly, 35 percent of overall respondents said they considered Cox “far or extreme right” in his politics, while just 13 percent put Moore at “far or extreme left.” In other words, Cox’s support from Trump might have propelled him to a primary win, but Maryland voters largely aren’t looking for that kind of thing in November. Moore doesn’t need a single vote from a registered Republican to win, and ultimately, Democrats could sweep the statewide elections on Maryland’s ballots later this year. In the state’s U.S. Senate race, in which incumbent Democratic contender Chris Van Hollen is facing Republican pick Chris Chaffee, Democrats had 56 percent, and the GOP candidate got just 33 percent.