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Democrat Wes Moore to face Trump-backed Republican Dan Cox in Maryland governor race

Updated July 19, 2022 at 11:28 PM ET

EMMITSBURG, Md. — Dan Cox, backed by former President Donald Trump, has won the Republican primary for governor in Maryland, according to a race call by The Associated Press.

Cox, a first-term state lawmaker in the Maryland House of Delegates, helped to spread Trump's lies that he won the 2020 election.

Even though the blue state has had a Republican governor for eight years — term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan — Cox will have a difficult time winning in November.

According to a recent poll from Goucher College and member station WYPR, 84% of Democrats would not consider supporting Cox in the general election. Because registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 2-to-1 in the state, the Republican would need backing from many Democratic voters to win.

The Democratic Governors Association spent more than $1 million running ads touting Cox's record supporting Trump, abortion restrictions and gun rights. It's a strategy we've seen in other states this year.

State Republican leaders say the ads were designed to help Cox win Tuesday's primary, giving Democrats a leg up in November, but the DGA says they're designed to be attack ads and that they're starting the general election fight early.

State Del. Dan Cox declares victory in the Maryland Republican primary for governor on July 19 in Emmitsburg, Md.
Rachel Baye / WYPR
State Del. Dan Cox declares victory in the Maryland Republican primary for governor on July 19 in Emmitsburg, Md.

Democrats haven't been able to elect a governor in Maryland since 2010 with former Gov. Martin O'Malley, and Hogan has been enormously popular in the state. He's an outspoken opponent of former Trump, is bullish when it comes to cutting taxes but is moderate on most social issues.

Another poll from Goucher College last October found that when voters were asked to choose between a Republican like either Trump or Hogan and a progressive or moderate Democrat, "a Republican like Hogan is competitive, or even bests a moderate or progressive Democrat," says Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College. "And a Republican like Trump, on the other hand, gets blown out of the water."

A race call in the nine-way Democratic primary for governor has yet to be made. Due to state law, mail-in ballots cannot be counted until Thursday.

Here's why Maryland Democrats could elect yet another Republican Governor

Copyright 2022 WYPR - 88.1 FM

Rachel Baye is a senior reporter and editor in WYPR's newsroom. @RachelBaye
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