Maryland Senate GOP leader refuses to endorse gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox on campaign trail – Baltimore Sun

The top Republican leader in the Maryland Senate declined to endorse his party’s gubernatorial nominee on Tuesday as Republicans continue to battle far-right conservative Dan Cox at the top of the ticket.

Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire, speaking to the need to break the Democrats’ supermajority control of the Legislature, said he was focused only on state Senate candidates and that he did not intend to endorse any of the statewide nominees.

Among those candidates is Cox, a 2020 election denier who won his primary largely on his backing of former President Donald Trump.

A first-time attorney and state delegate, Cox continued to promote his loyalty to Trump and his populist agenda even as he competed for the broader Maryland general electorate that rejected Trump by wide margins in 2020.

As recently as Saturday, he was in the crowd for the former president’s rally in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and was shouted down when Trump denounced Gov. Larry Hogan for about a minute.

“He’s got a tough run, but I’m very proud of him,” Trump said before taking credit for Cox’s main win, prompting Cox to stand up in the arena, smile, wave and wave. give a thumbs up.

Trump continued, pledging to help Cox while Hogan vowed not to.

“And it’s my fault – I’m sorry, Dan – Larry Hogan is not going to support you just because I support you. So I don’t know what that means but I can tell you Maryland has a great man who’s running. And I hope you’re doing well and we’ll be here to help,” Trump said.

While it’s unclear whether Trump will hold a similar rally in Maryland, local Republicans continued to split over whether they would help their candidate in the most high-profile race of the year.

His nomination — along with that of Attorney General nominee Michael Peroutka, who promoted conspiracy theories and was a member of a Confederate group — presented a particular challenge for moderate Republicans.

Hogan said Cox had all but guaranteed victory for Democratic candidate Wes Moore, and Comptroller candidate Barry Glassman had distanced himself from fellow Republican candidates statewide.

Simonaire, a Republican from Anne Arundel County, supported Hogan’s hand-picked candidate in the primary, former Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz.

“There’s only one Republican candidate who can win in the entire state, and that’s Kelly Schulz,” he said in a statement at the time of his endorsement.

During a virtual press conference on Tuesday, he spoke out against the “far left agenda” of his fellow Democrats and said his caucus was pushing to win the four additional seats needed to break the anti- the Democrats’ veto, which allowed them to bypass Hogan on major legislation that Republicans opposed.

“Marylanders are tired of partisanship and they’re looking for balance,” Simonaire said.

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Asked about the race for the post of governor, Simonaire returns several times to the candidates for the legislative elections and to the idea of ​​serving as a brake on the total control of the other party.

“When you talk about balance, that’s what we focus on, regardless of who’s in the governor’s office,” Simonaire said. “And I’m telling you, it took us 110% of our time to focus on that.”

State Sen. Justin Ready, another GOP executive who serves as minority whip, also appeared at the press conference, saying a recent increase in violent crime will continue if Republicans don’t. are not in a position of power to stop progressive legislation.

Ready, of Carroll County, had also endorsed Schulz but told The Sun after the July 19 primary that he would support Cox.

Simonaire said he spoke to Cox at one point and they agreed to “focus on issues that are important to Maryland,” but they left it at that. “We said, listen, we have to focus on our own races.

And although he answered emphatically “no” when asked if he thought Cox’s presence at the top of the list would have a negative effect on legislative candidates, another senator chimed in to say that the election de Hogan have proven that “the Governor has no ponytail”.

“I tried to cling to Governor Hogan’s coattails as hard as I could,” Baltimore County Sen. Chris West said of his 2018 election. alone, without any help from the governor.”