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In feud with Trump, Hogan won't back Cox's gubernatorial bid in general election

Hogan won't back Cox's gubernatorial bid in general election
Hogan won't back Cox's gubernatorial bid in general election 02:15

BALTIMORE -- Del. Dan Cox might have won the GOP nomination in the Maryland governor's race, but come November he will not have the support of the man he hopes to succeed.

Cox, a far-right lawmaker endorsed by former President Donald Trump, prevailed in Tuesday's primary over Kelly Schulz, a fellow Republican and former Maryland Commerce Secretary who had the backing of outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan.

The result marks the end of a contentious campaign that the Associated Press described as a clash over the fate of the Republican Party, pitting two distinctly different factions of the GOP against one another.

But while Cox emerged victorious, capturing 56% of the vote compared to 40% for Schulz with 80% of ballots counted, Hogan's vote is one he cannot count on in the general election.

"Trump lost Republicans the White House, the House, and the Senate. He's selfishly colluded with national Democrats to cost us a Governor's seat in Maryland where I ran 45 points ahead of him," the governor tweeted. "He's fighting for his ego. We're fighting to win."

Hogan's office told WJZ that the governor, who has been the subject of Cox's criticism and litigation, will not be voting for the GOP nominee in the November general election. The governor's office did not say for whom Hogan would vote.

Cox, who represents the fourth district in the Maryland House of Delegates, sued over stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. Hogan's administration. In February, he introduced ultimately unsuccessful legislation seeking Hogan's impeachment.

On election night, Cox said he was "grateful to President Trump."

He brushed off claims that Democratic Party leaders felt he was easier to beat in the general election.

"Democrats are afraid, I think. The progressive democrats see our candidacy as the only one wiling to stand up and articulate the values that everyone loves in Maryland," Cox said.

WJZ asked Matthew Crenson, a longtime Maryland political observer and political science professor emeritus at Johns Hopkins University, whether he believed Cox could win in November. 

"You can never say never, but unless the Democratic nominee does something really, really stupid, the chances of [Cox] winning are almost nil," Crenson said.

He believes low turnout gave Cox the edge. 

 "If you look at the number of people who voted compared to four years ago, it's a 50,000 voter drop. ...I suspect a lot of that is Republicans who decided to stay home," he said. "They decided to stay home because they felt they didn't have a candidate they were enthusiastic about. But one group of voters is very enthusiastic, they are the voters who make up Trump's base."

The Hogan administration has been critical of Cox, with spokesperson Michael Ricci calling Cox as a "QAnon conspiracy theorist."

As the Associated Press reports, Cox has been an ardent Trump supporter, arranging for protesters to travel to Washington, D.C., for a "Stop the Steal" ahead of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. 

Cox said President Joe Biden's victory should not have been certified and in a since-deleted tweet called former Vice President Mike Pence a "traitor," the report states.

The Associated Press and CBS News both called the race for Cox about 11 p.m. Tuesday. Shortly before then, Trump shared his excitement about the race's outcome.

"RINO Larry Hogan's Endorsement doesn't seem to be working out so well for his heavily favored candidate," the former president tweeted. "Next, I'd love to see Larry run for President!"

Both Trump and Hogan have been the subject of speculation about potential presidential runs in 2024.

The Cox victory appears to be the desired outcome for the Democratic Governors Association, which the Associated Press reports spent over $1 million on advertising aimed at benefiting his campaign.

On Wednesday, the organization dropped a scathing ad, saying Cox wants to "turn Maryland into MAGALAND." The ad features soundbites from Hogan calling Cox a "QAnon wackjob" and a "crazy guy."

While the Republican primary for Maryland's top office is all but decided, the Democratic primary remains too close to call. 

The latest poll results show author and nonprofit CEO Wes Moore carrying a significant lead (36.8%) over former Labor Secretary Tom Perez (27.4%) and Comptroller Peter Franchot (19.6%) with more than 61% of the votes counted.

The trio were viewed as potential frontrunners after a Goucher College poll in June found them running neck-and-neck.

It remains to be seen when the race in the Democratic primary could be called. State elections officials have warned Marylanders that results for certain races could take days or even weeks to emerge.

Information from the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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