Democrat Wes Moore leads Republican Dan Cox in the race to become Maryland’s next governor, and the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Cox is an ultra-MAGA, Trump-endorsed candidate with anti-abortion, anti-LGBTQ+, and pro-insurrectionist beliefs, and the state’s current Republican governor refuses to endorse him. In contrast, Moore promises to advocate for reproductive, LGBTQ+, and privacy rights. Moore, unlike Cox, was also not responsible for perpetuating the Big Lie or participating in the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.
In a recent survey conducted by Goucher College, The Baltimore Banner, and WYPR, 53 percent of Marylanders said they would support Moore and 31 percent said they would vote for Cox. Moore has a similar lead in how favorably voters view the candidates.
They are running to replace retiring Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Moore is an author and former chief executive officer of an anti-poverty nonprofit, and Cox is a member of Maryland’s House of Delegates.
Despite calling Cox a “QAnon whackjob” and accusing him of being mentally ill, Hogan has said he won’t endorse either candidate.
Moore points to Hogan’s clarity in identifying the dangers of the MAGA movement, which he says is everything Cox is about.
“My opponents in this general election is not just a manifestation of that, he’s the embodiment of it,” Moore tells The Advocate. “And so I think when the current governor says that not only will he not support him but he wouldn’t even give him a tour of the governor’s office. So you just realize how out of step my opponent is with mainstream Maryland values and, frankly, how dangerous his ideology is.”
Moore points out that Cox voted against a spousal rape prevention bill, that Cox believes all abortions should be criminalized for the patient and provider, and participated in the U.S. Capitol insurrection.
“This is a person who literally went down to the Capitol on January 6 and invited people to join him as they called for Mike Pence to be hung for certifying a legal election,” says Moore. “So there’s a danger in our opponent that I think the current governor even recognizes.”
Moore says that while Cox is for taking things away from Marylanders, he is running to do things for the people of Maryland.
“I fight for this country because I believe in freedom, I believe that we should have avenues, and our government should be working to increase freedoms for people, not take them away,” Moore says. “It makes me sick when you have an adult who will use their power to bully, diminish, and dehumanize. And my message to my opponent or, frankly, anyone else who will take on that posture is that for anyone who wants to take away rights and particularly rights to our LGBTQ+ community here in the state of Maryland, you’ll have to go through me first, because it is something that I will not tolerate nor condone. And we will make sure that we are leading from the front and aggressively.”
Moore has committed to making LGBTQ+ rights a central component of his administration.
“I’m not just proud of, but we are full-throated in the support we have for LGBTQ+ youth, families, and individuals,” he says. “We are going to fully implement the newly passed Inclusive Schools Act, ensuring that Maryland schools adopt LGBTQIA+ [affirming] policies.”
He says his administration will work with organizations to create partnerships for LGBTQ+ youth by providing resources, support, access to health care, and other services to queer and trans Marylanders.
Whereas other states are moving to take access to care away from transgender individuals, Moore promises that Maryland will expand access.
“We support the passage of the Trans Health Equity Act to ensure that transgender Marylanders can have access to the gender-affirming health care they need,” Moore says.
The former U.S. Army captain’s drive to make opportunities and access to resources available to underserved communities stems from his history as CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, which aims to lift people out of poverty by providing access to resources and financial support opportunities.
“We funded and invested in organizations that understand the issues LGBTQIA+ communities have from housing insecurity and homelessness and suicide rates that eclipse any other group in our society,” Moore says.
“And I’m proud of that,” he adds.