November 28, 2022

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Democrat Wes Moore was elected Maryland’s first black governor.

Moore, a best-selling author, defeated Republican Dan Cox in his first race for public office in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1.

Moore’s victory flips the governorship from a Republican to a Democrat. Of the 36 gubernatorial races this year, Maryland and Massachusetts presented one of the best chances for Democrats to regain the governorship at a time when the GOP has a 28-to-22 lead in the gubernatorial seats.

With the slogan “Leave No One Behind,” the former combat veteran and former CEO of one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty organizations worked to create equal opportunities for Maryland residents.

“This can be Maryland’s moment,” Moore said in a debate last month. “We have great people and incredible potential, but not everyone is capable of being successful.”

Moore, 44, defeated a first-term congressman backed by former President Donald Trump, who received just 32% of the vote in Maryland’s 2020 presidential election.

During their only debate, Moore criticized Cox for attending the “Stop the Steal” rally on Jan. 6, 2021, before Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol. Moore described Cox as “an extremist resister whose rhetoric and policies are not only dangerous and divisive but will set our state back”.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

Democrats Wes Moore and U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown on Tuesday sought to make Maryland history, with Moore hoping to become the state’s first black governor and Brown running as Maryland’s first black attorney general.

Moore, 44, is up against Republican Dan Cox, a former President Donald Trump-backed lawmaker in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1. Trump lost to President Joe Biden in Maryland in 2020 after receiving just 32% of the vote.

Moore and Cox are running to replace Republican governor Larry Hogan, whose term in office is limited.

Kevin Holmboe, who voted for Moore in Annapolis, Maryland, cited the candidate’s resume as a former combat veteran who served in Afghanistan and a Rhodes Fellow with a business background as qualifications that caught his eye.

“He just had all the right things to take me in that direction,” said Holmboe, 60, after voting for Moore.

The race was marked by Hogan’s refusal to endorse Cox, who he has described as “a QAnon mad job” unfit for office.

Republican voters who backed Cox said Trump’s endorsement of the candidate matters to them.

“Honestly, he’s a MAGA Republican,” said John Jacobs, 57, who voted for Cox in Annapolis, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

While declaring his vote for Cox, Jacobs quickly turned to criticism of Hogan weighing a presidential bid – possibly against Trump. “And Larry Hogan, who I probably wouldn’t vote for president if my life depended on it, and I’m a Republican.”

Cox organized bus trips for protesters to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot in the US Capitol. Cox also said Biden’s victory should not have been authenticated and tweeted that former Vice President Mike Pence was a “traitor.” Cox later deleted the tweet and apologized.

In her only debate, Moore described Cox as “an extremist resister whose rhetoric and policies are not only dangerous and divisive but will set our state back”.

Cox described Moore, a best-selling author, as “a con man” and criticized him for saying he lived in Baltimore longer than his book. He also criticized him for not debating with him more than once.

The Democrats want to regain the governorship after eight years of Republican control.

Of the 36 gubernatorial races this year, Maryland and Massachusetts present the best chances for Democrats to regain the governorship at a time when the GOP has a 28-to-22 lead in the gubernatorial seats.

Moore, a former CEO of one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty organizations, worked to create equal opportunity for Maryland residents.

“This can be Maryland’s moment,” Moore said during his debate with Cox. “We have great people and incredible potential, but not everyone is capable of being successful.”

Cox, who tried this year to impeach Hogan over restrictions he ordered during the COVID-19 pandemic, has told voters he “will never lock you up”. He has campaigned to reduce regulations and taxes, support law enforcement, and give parents more say in public schools.

Other candidates running for governor include David Lashar of the Libertarian Party; Nancy Wallace of the Green Party; and David Harding of the Working Class Party.

Meanwhile, Brown also hopes to make history by becoming the state’s first black attorney general. Brown, a three-year congressman representing a black-majority district in the state capital’s suburbs, served as lieutenant governor for eight years. He lost the 2014 governor’s race to Hogan before winning his seat in the US House of Representatives.

Brown is up against Republican Michael Peroutka, a former member of Anne Arundel County Council.

A Republican has not been elected Attorney General in Maryland since 1919. Edward DE Rollins was the last Republican to hold office, having been appointed to that office in 1952.

In another open statewide race, Democrat Brooke Lierman is up against Republican Barry Glassman for the Comptroller, the state’s tax collector. The comptroller holds one of three posts in the powerful state building agency, along with the governor and state treasurer.


Follow AP’s coverage of the election at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

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