State Del. Dan Cox, a conservative Republican well-known for his ardent support of former President Donald Trump, has officially announced his campaign for governor.

The District 4 delegate publicized his candidacy on Twitter and Facebook Sunday, less than a week after forming a committee to explore a potential run. Cox, who represents parts of Frederick County, hasn’t returned multiple requests for comment from the News-Post and other news organizations over the past week.

In a video announcing his candidacy, Cox called critical race theory — something of a template for examining how racism is embedded in America’s institutions — “propaganda” and said he would push for a bipartisan effort to lower Marylander’s taxes.

“I believe in stimulating the economy by leaving the money you’ve earned in your pocket,” he said.

Cox, a lawyer, has built his name recognition after finding himself at the center of numerous controversies during his first term in Annapolis. He unsuccessfully sued Gov. Larry Hogan (R) over the state’s COVID restrictions, expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory, compared a mental health care bill to the Holocaust and tweeted during the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol that then-Vice President Mike Pence was a “traitor” for certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

Since taking office in 2019 , two bills that Cox was the lead sponsor for passed the legislature unanimously. The first established a task force to study crime classifications and penalties, and the second required courts to post a human trafficking hotline. In the most recent session, he advocated for a bill that would’ve ended Maryland’s state of emergency amid the pandemic. The legislation didn’t make it to a vote.

Cox joins Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz — herself a former Frederick County delegate — and Montgomery County anti-tax activist Robin Ficker in the Republican field for governor.

On Wednesday, the Maryland Democratic Party issued a press release titled “Maryland Republican Primary Gets Messy,” which opines Cox’s presence in the race will force Schulz to more clearly establish where she stands with Trump.

“The Republicans are in a Trump-loyalty race to the bottom,” Democratic Party Chairwoman Yvette Lewis said in the release. “Del. Dan Cox’s entrance into the 2022 field guarantees a messy MAGA primary for the Republican Party.”

Cox’s decision last week to explore a run for governor surprised his colleagues in the county’s Republican Central Committee. Several people who spoke with the News-Post said they weren’t aware of Cox’s interest in running until after he filed with the board of elections as a potential candidate.

Fellow District 4 delegate and Central Committee member Barrie Ciliberti (R) said on June 30 that he didn’t see a clear path to victory for Cox given his past actions.

“If he has visions of becoming governor, God bless him,” Ciliberti said. “But that’s a steep mountain to climb.”

Committee member Stephen Barrett was more optimistic about Cox’s chances.

“He’s not fresh meat in the party,” Barrett said Monday. “He’s got history.”

In 2016, Cox squared off with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) for the state’s 8th congressional district seat. Raskin won handily.

Barrett said he saw a wave of support for Cox after the delegate filed suit against Hogan. Cox may have hindered his chances by joining the race late compared with Schulz and Ficker, Barrett said.

The Central Committee’s bylaws prohibit the body from endorsing candidates in a contested primary election, but individual members can offer their support for a specific candidate.

Billy Shreve, a committee member who served as county commissioner and county councilman, said Cox will run more to the right than Schulz, who has held two positions in Hogan’s cabinet and who may have to decide how closely to align herself with the governor — as well as with the former president.

Shreve said last week that he expects more candidates to join the race to succeed Hogan — who is term-limited — before next year’s filing deadline.

The Baltimore Sun reported in April that MSNBC commentator and former lieutenant governor Michael Steele was considering joining the Republican field.

Others looking to join the race have until 9 p.m. Feb. 22, 2022, to file the necessary paperwork to run.

Nine Democrats have announced campaigns for governor. They are: Rushern Baker, the former Prince George’s County executive; Jon Baron, a former nonprofit executive and federal official; Peter Franchot, the state’s comptroller; Doug Gansler, a former attorney general of Maryland; Ashwani K. Jain, a former official in the Obama administration; John King Jr., a former U.S. secretary of education; Wes Moore, an author and businessman; Tom Perez, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and U.S. secretary of labor; and Mike Rosenbaum, a businessman.

The state’s primary is scheduled for June 28, 2022, and the general election is slotted for Nov. 8.

Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan

(27) comments

Aslan19

You guys are just freaking amazing (and that isn't a compliment). I honestly don't know whether to laugh hysterically or cry uncontrollably at your partisanship and frozen minds. SMH so hard it may come off.

Hayduke2

Pot, meet kettle.....

public-redux

Aslan, I count 5 Republicans amongst the commenters below. You can add me to the list of Republicans who won’t vote for Cox. I don’t think partisanship is the explanatory variable here. We know all about Cox. That’s why we are against him.

Greg F

We remember the insanity spewed from Cox and that he is a rabid frothing trumper. That’s enough to deserve every nasty comment he gets and then some. Jan 6th… a day Cox would celebrate. Shameless moron…

Plumbum

I hear ya. But none of that matters. He has zero chance nobody loves him.

TomWheatley

Reminds me of a Fredneck official who ran for Governor a few years back. I was thinking about donating just to get him out of office.

Plumbum

[thumbup][thumbup]

BlueFredneck

It depends on how deep the Trumpism has gone into the MD GOP's veins.

Schulz is probably the favorite unless Steele runs.

Ficker's a perennial candidate - I forget whether he's actually pro-choice and don't know whether he's neck deep or only ankle-deep in the Trump.

Cox is a flat-out January 6th'er. He'll almost certainly lose 70-30 or 75-25 in November.

TomWheatley

I think Ficker was running when I went to college in the early 70s. :)

britt

This is good news for the 4th district where I live. He only got elected because there is a R after his name on the ballot. He hasn't represented the 4th district because he's been too busy working outside the state in PA. If he stays in the gov race, he will no longer serve as a Delegate in the state house. Great news! I doubt he has any chance of winning the primary, and, if he does because of all the delusional Trumpism supporters of the Big Lie and QAnon, the Democrats will easily retake the Governorship. If the Republicans want to have any chance of keeping the Governorship, they need to put up a real candidate.

TrekMan

Don't get your knickers in a wad folks, he has about 1 in 3,000,000 or more chance to win.

Piedmontgardener

It will be a good day when Dan Cox moves out of this community. He's a divisive and obnoxious presence.

MrSniper

Aside from trying to broaden gun rights & trying to make abortions illegal, I don’t know why any working class American would vote red. Most of the party leadership has had a fundamental break with reality in the forms of Qanon, phantom voter fraud, or Trump worship. The GOP has always been the party of big business, warmongering, & now climate destruction. Add to that some dog whistle (or just blatant) racism & zero plans to fix healthcare & that pretty much describes the Republican Party. Americans for Republicans is like roaches for raid.

olefool

" Americans for Republicans is like roaches for raid." That pretty well sums up the situation MrSniper.

MrSniper

I wish I could claim credit. I stole it from John Leguizamo.

Plumbum

Good riddance

Dwasserba

“…Michael Steele was considering joining the Republican field.” Hurry UP Michael

Hayduke2

Absolutely NOT....

Brookhawk

God bless Cox? I don't think so. God has been shaking his head a lot. Cox is wasting his time and money, for what purpose I don't know. Maybe he's bucking for a place in the next Trump presidency but I don't think there will be one, and if there were, I'll lay odds Cox wouldn't be in it.

sej58

Never forget.......when Cox called VP Pence a traitor.

AOC

Thank you Susan, I did forget about that.

Del. Cox Arranged Buses to Violent Trump Rally, Calls Vice President a ‘Traitor’

https://www.marylandmatters.org/2021/01/07/del-cox-arranged-buses-to-violent-trump-rally-calls-vice-president-a-traitor/

threecents

This is a win-win decision for Cox. Even if he loses badly, he will get some notoriety that may help in his talk show career. But it is also a win-win for Democrats, as he reminds the huge Democrat majority of GOP crazy.

Plumbum

Noterity ownlee lasts so long

gabrielshorn2013

No.

Greg F

What's next? We dig up ol' Chuck Manson out of his grave now that his life sentence is up, and have him run for Gov? He's just as sane as Cox is. Just as whacked...sure...he would really fit well with the new GOP bunch of wingnuts.

Plumbum

Good riddance

fjulia

Oh look, a Trump bootlicker hoping to enrage those who ignore facts. Will Hogan call him out like he sometimes did to Trump. Probably not because all the Republican Party cares about is getting and keeping power.

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