Republicans for Maryland governor accuses Democrats of tipping the scales

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Kelly M. Schulz accused a Democratic group of backing a “fringe” Republican candidate backed by former President Donald Trump in the narrow GOP primary, a move that could improve a Democrat’s chances of winning the general election.

Schulz, who served in Outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan’s cabinet and endorsement said the Democratic Governors Association spent $1 million on television advertising to bolster Daniel L. Cox, a Frederick County GOP congressman staunch Trump supporter.

“The math is easy. Spend a million now and save $5 million by not having to face me in the general election,” Schulz said Thursday in Annapolis, flanked by supporters including Hogan. She called Cox a “lying conspiracy theorist … who poses a danger to our party and our state.”

Cox said he received no direct support from the DGA.

“You’re lying,” Cox said in a statement to Schulz on Thursday. “Are you collaborating with the left to smear our campaign like Hillary Clinton did with her fake Russia dossier with Donald Trump?”

Maryland Republicans say the ad is part of a national strategy to elect far-right Republicans, who will be easier for Democrats to defeat in November. The group funded ads in support of a Republican candidate in the Illinois gubernatorial primary, to the chagrin of his opponent, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Democrats, who have lost the Maryland gubernatorial race in three of the last five elections, field 10 Candidates for nomination despite Rushern L. Baker III having his campaign on hiatus. Turnout for the primary is expected to be low after a court battle over how the contest should be reallocated pushed back the contest to July 19, political scientists say.

Former Hogan administration official raises significant donation to governor’s bid

The 30-second TV ad, paid for by the DGA, emphasizes Cox’s connection to Trump and his opposition to abortion and gun control — a message that could appeal to GOP primary voters and boost Cox’s notoriety.

A DGA spokesman declined to say why the group paid for the ad, but did name Cox a frontrunner. Though Cox is far behind in fundraising, he is in a statistical dead heat with Schulz among determined Republican primary voters, though according to a recent Goucher College poll nearly half of those voters remain undecided.

“Multiple polls for months have shown Dan Cox to be firmly in the driver’s seat of the Maryland Republican primary, with the full support of Donald Trump and the state’s only Republican congressman, Andy Harris,” DGA spokesman Sam Newton said in a statement. “It’s telling that Kelly Schulz is already making excuses for not gaining momentum.”

Hogan, who is serving a term and cannot seek re-election, accused the DGA of playing “Russian roulette” with the House of Representatives.

“Democrats are already 2 to 1 ahead of Republicans in the state, but they still feel the need to cheat because they’re out of ideas and clearly believe they can’t win a fair fight,” he said.

Among Democrats, according to the Goucher poll, comptroller Peter Franchot, bestselling author and former nonprofit boss Wes Moore, and former US Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez are in a statistical three-way tie for the party’s nomination among the staunch Democratic primary voters. Republicans for Maryland governor accuses Democrats of tipping the scales

Dustin Huang

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