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Trump-Backed Election Denier Dan Cox Wins Maryland Primaries For Governor

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Another Republican who has sowed false doubts about the 2020 election is one step closer to a governor’s mansion and the power to certify the results of the 2024 presidential race.

Dan Cox, a state representative in Maryland, won his state’s primary GOP, NBC News Projects, on Tuesday, beating Kelly Schulz, a former secretary of commerce. backed by the state establishment.

Cox — who attended the rally leading up to the deadly Capitol uprising on Jan. 6, 2021 and received former President Donald Trump’s endorsement — likely owes his victory at least in part to National Democrats broadcasting TV ads that strengthened right-wing views. While the strategy could pay dividends in the longer term in a state where voters lean more to the center and to the left, attempts to elevate a supposedly weaker opponent in the general election threaten to backfire.

The Democratic Governors Association spent more than $1 million on mostly Cox-focused posts. Cox himself spent a fraction of that: $21,000 through Monday, according to media tracking firm AdImpact.

Cox will face the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, a contest that centered on three leading candidates: former US Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, state controller Peter Franchot and author Wes Moore. That game was too early to call, according to NBC News.

Maryland is not normally a battleground in election years, but outgoing Governor Larry Hogan’s two terms – a rarity for Republicans in the state — paving the way for a competitive year. The outgoing governor’s fervent opposition to Trump and the endorsement of Schulz, who served in his cabinet, encouraged the former president to back Cox. In addition to attending and transporting Trump supporters to the rally on January 6, Cox also has tweeted back when then Vice President Mike Pence was a traitor for sanctioning Joe Biden’s victory.

“Cox worked with Trump to prove the last election was a fraud,” said one narrator in a DGA ad that also played up Trump’s endorsement and Cox’s tough stance on guns and abortion.

The Democratic strategy of interference has become a staple of other races this year, with the party technical results favoring it in the Illinois and Pennsylvania governor races. Pennsylvania’s effort was particularly notable for the efforts of Josh Shapiro, the state’s attorney general and unopposed Democratic nominee for governor, to emphasize the conservative credentials of state senator Doug Mastriano, who eventually won a packed GOP primaries. . Mastriano, like Cox, has spoken out about the 2020 election and was in Washington, DC, on the day of the January 6 riots. He also pushed for an alternative slate of Trump voters, operating on the idea that Biden’s Electoral College victory could be reversed in Trump’s favour.

Republicans have expressed frustration with the tactic, and some Democrats have joined them to question whether there is hypocrisy when party leaders appear to be peddling the same election deniers as threats to democracy.

“They think Republican voters in Maryland are idiots who can be fooled,” Doug Mayer, a senior adviser to Schulz’s campaign, said of Democrats in an interview with NBC News last week.

DGA director Noam Lee labeled Cox a “conspiracy theorist with an extreme track record” in a statement that also read as an attempt to justify the group’s heavy involvement in the primary.

“We cannot allow Dan Cox to turn Maryland into MAGAland, which is why the DGA has held him accountable for weeks and will continue to ensure we defeat him and his dangerous agenda in November,” Lee said in the statement.

Meanwhile, Maryland’s Democratic primary for governor too early to call late Tuesday, according to NBC News turned into a battle of three sides. Perez and Franchot, the state comptroller since 2007 and long-time state legislator, offered themselves as steady hands of the party establishment.

Moore drew on his nonprofit experience, his background in books and on television. He has hosted programs on Oprah Winfrey’s cable network, and the ubiquitous former talk show host supported his candidacy.

“This moment we are in requires a different type of leader,” Winfrey said in an ad she ran for Moore’s campaign. “For governor in Maryland, you have one in my friend, Wes Moore.”

Through Monday, Perez and an outside group backing him had spent the most in the Democratic primary, closely followed by Moore.

Also in the race were former US Secretary of Education John King and former State Attorney General Doug Gansler.

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