With roughly seven months until the primary, the Republican race to win nomination for Maryland governor is beginning to heat up between the two candidates from Frederick County.
On Monday, former President Donald Trump endorsed Del. Dan Cox (R-Frederick) to succeed Gov. Larry Hogan, who is term limited. In his endorsement, the former president said Cox, who has backed false claims of a rigged presidential election, is “MAGA all the way through.”
Trump also bashed Hogan (R), whom he called a RINO — Republican In Name Only — while misspelling the name of Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz, whom the former president said was "handpicked" by the governor. Schulz is also Frederick County resident who formerly represented the county in the state House of Delegates.
In a response over Twitter on Monday, Hogan said, “Personally, I’d prefer endorsements from people who didn’t lose Maryland by 33 points," and Schulz’s campaign Communications Director Mike Demkiw said in a statement that Schulz's “life experience, credentials and record of accomplishment make her uniquely qualified to lead this state.”
Then, during a press conference Tuesday, Hogan again spoke up for Schulz when asked about Trump's endorsement of Cox.
“She would make a great governor,” Hogan said of Schulz during the press conference. “I fully intend to get involved in helping her.”
The Republican governor then called Cox a “QAnon wackjob,” adding that support from Trump wouldn’t help the delegate’s chances of winning. The latter may be supported by a Goucher College poll published in October, which showed Marylanders were far more likely to support a Republican like Hogan than one like Trump when facing a moderate Democrat.
In a Facebook response, Cox accused the governor of defamation and called his rhetoric “childish.” Cox did not return a call for comment Tuesday from The News-Post.
The District 4 delegate is well known for his ardent support of Trump, and during his first term in the General Assembly, Cox unsuccessfully sued Hogan over the state’s COVID restrictions, expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and compared a mental health bill to the Holocaust.
He also 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, something Hogan referenced during his remarks on Tuesday.