Republican Dan Cox, an attorney and Maryland state delegate, handily defeated Gov. Larry Hogan’s (R) endorsed candidate, Kelly Schulz, on Tuesday in the state’s GOP gubernatorial primary.
Cox was beating Schulz by about 16 points, 56 percent to 40 percent, with 75 percent of precincts reporting as of the time of this writing, according to the New York Times’ race results. The Associated Press (AP) called the race just after 11:00 p.m.
Cox delivered a victory speech Tuesday night, telling the crowd, “We will never again give over our bodies, our churches and our businesses to a lockdown state,” in reference to his opposition to Hogan’s coronavirus mandates the governor implemented when cases were surging in 2020 and 2021, according to the AP.
Trump endorsed Cox in November, saying the state lawmaker was “MAGA all the way—unlike his opponent, Kelly Schultz, who was handpicked” by Hogan, whom Schulz previously served under as Maryland’s secretary of labor and commerce.
While Hogan “has been terrible for our Country and is against the America First Movement,” Trump contended in his endorsement announcement, Cox was an advocate of “low taxes, school choice, and no more lockdowns,” supportive of the military, and “fought against the Rigged Presidential Election every step of the way, and will bring secure Elections back to Maryland.”
Hogan, for his part, sought to make the case that a Trump-aligned Republican would not fare well in a general election in a state Trump lost by a wide margin of 33 percent in 2020.
Personally, I'd prefer endorsements from people who didn’t lose Maryland by 33 points.
— Larry Hogan (@LarryHogan) November 23, 2021
The Democratic Governors Association seemed to share that view, per the Wall Street Journal. The group poured $1.2 million into advertising Cox as “too conservative” in an apparent attempt to boost the Trump-backed candidate and sabotage Republicans’ chances of holding the governor’s mansion in November.
The Democrat candidate Cox will face in the general election had not yet been decided as of early Wednesday morning, but Wes Moore, an author endorsed by Oprah Winfrey, was leading in the primary with 45 percent of precincts reporting.