Republican Larry Hogan has had a remarkable run during his two terms as governor of blue-state Maryland. His handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially his frequent public admonishments to residents to "wear the damn mask," have been a contrast to most other GOP governors and helped drive his approval ratings to nearly 75 percent.
But since Hogan is term-limited and can't run again, Maryland Republicans now must choose a candidate to replace him and recent polling suggests their preferred candidate, who has former President Donald Trump's "complete and total endorsement," is a QAnon conspiracy adherent who bused protestors to the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection, according to conservative Jim Swift of The Bulwark.
That candidate is Dan Cox, who was elected to Maryland's House of Delegates in 2019 to represent rural Frederick County, Maryland. Cox is 47, a devout Reformed Presbyterian and the father of nine children. His rivals for the GOP nomination are the state's former commerce secretary and labor secretary, Kelly Shulz, who has Hogan's backing, and recently disbarred attorney and perpetual Maryland political gadfly Robin Ficker.
The Bulwark writes, "What attracted Trump to Cox? For starters, the fact that Cox sought to impeach Gov. Hogan, a “Never Trumper” whom the former president never liked. The delegate’s impeachment attempt, premised on Hogan’s relatively mild COVID restrictions, lasted a grand total of six minutes."
In response to Cox's impeachment effort, Hogan's office responded: “This guy is known to be a QAnon conspiracy theorist. He’s got this weird obsession with the governor. Surprised it took this long, frankly.”
Cox and his running mate, Gordana Schifanelli, have tweeted the QAnon hashtag #WWG1WGA. But when he asked about his use of the hashtag, Cox responded: “I support President Trump and General Flynn and that’s all my point was about.”
Like most QAnon believers, Cox doesn’t believe Joe Biden is the legitimate president. He has gone so far as to say that there was substantial voter fraud in Maryland, a state that Trump lost by 33 points.
Cox was so certain that there was fraud that he actively participated in the insurrection that attempted to keep Trump in power.
He organized three buses to take people to the rally that led to the Capitol riot, tweeting on Jan. 2: "Join us for likely the biggest and most important march on DC ever this Jan 6. If you love America, be there. It’s more than the fraud, it is also about our Constitution. We have limited space left on our THIRD bus here #MarchForTrump #KAG2021"
Join us for likely the biggest and most important march on DC ever this Jan 6. If you love America, be there. It\u2019s more than the fraud, it is also about our Constitution. We have limited space left on our THIRD bus here #MarchForTrump #KAG2021 https://frederickcountyconservativeclub.com/mmm/\u00a0 https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1345551634907209730\u00a0\u2026— Dan Cox \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83e\udd85- Delegate & Candidate for Governor (@Dan Cox \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83e\udd85- Delegate & Candidate for Governor) 1609639883
Cox faces an uphill battle in his quest to ascend to the Annapolis state house. Maryland has elected only two Republican governors in the past seven decades: Hogan and Spiro Agnew.
"So to sum up, Cox is a race-baiting, conspiratorial kook who actively participated in the attempt to end our democracy on Jan. 6th. This does not seem like a man who is a great fit for a blue state."