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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Even as he grapples with his lopsided loss, Dan Cox offers concession to Wes Moore

GOP nominee for governor Dan Cox spoke to supporters Tuesday night at a hotel in Annapolis. Photo by Josh Kurtz.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox acknowledged on Wednesday that he is struggling to reconcile what he observed and felt on the campaign trail with the results reported by the state Board of Elections.

Nonetheless, the Frederick County lawmaker phoned Gov.-elect Wes Moore (D) to offer congratulations and to wish him well as the state’s new leader.

“I wish Governor-elect Wes Moore and Lt. Gov.-elect Aruna Miller and their families every blessing and success to ensure that he will keep his word and govern positively for all Marylanders,” Cox said in a two-page statement. “I will pray for them and their new role for all of us.”

As of 3 p.m. on Wednesday, with nearly all precincts (2,066 out of 2,074) accounted for, Moore and Miller had 59.6% of the vote, with Cox and his running mate, Gordana Schifanelli, attracting 37%. The results were in line with what strategists, pollsters and top officials in both parties (including Republican Gov. Larry Hogan) had anticipated for some time.

Cox, however, said “the outcome was a complete surprise.”

“Our internal data demonstrated a massive shift of swing voters our way and a huge turnout of Republicans — neither of which is reported to have occurred,” he wrote.

“What we witnessed for a year and a half on the ground, with people being forced out of their homes, losing their jobs over forced mandates, parents irate with what was happening in their schools, and whole communities overwhelmed with the daily murders and crime explosion, we are struggling to understand how Maryland could fail to turnout [sic] to vote on the GOP/unaffiliated side as is now being reported.”

During the campaign, Cox was dogged by questions about whether he would accept the results, so his unwillingness to concede on Tuesday evening, after the race had been called by several national news organizations, was not a complete surprise. He suggested that if uncounted ballots broke his way, he could erase Moore’s large lead.

Brian Jones, a Moore spokesperson, said the two men had a very cordial exchange. “The Governor-elect and Del. Cox had a call that was very gracious and kind,” Jones said. “They connected on Del. Cox’s son’s service in the 82nd Airborne.”

Hogan and Moore will hold a media availability on Thursday at the State House.

Cox was one of several Trump-endorsed candidates who under-performed on Tuesday. In his statement, Cox called the former president “an American hero who stands for our America First values.” He accused Hogan of showing “disrespect” for the Republican Party by failing to support its nominee for governor. Hogan’s opposition to Cox’s candidacy will doom any future bid for public office, the lawmaker predicted.

Attorney General-elect Anthony Brown (D) said on Wednesday that he had yet to hear from his former rival, Republican Michael Peroutka, a controversial former Anne Arundel County Council member and former member of the League of the South. Brown led Peroutka 60% to 39.9% on Wednesday, with almost all precincts reporting.

Emails to Peroutka’s campaign coordinator were not immediately returned.