Maryland gubernatorial candidates Wes Moore (left) and Dan Cox (Courtesy photos)
Maryland gubernatorial candidates Wes Moore (left) and Dan Cox (Courtesy photos)

Maryland gubernatorial nominees Wes Moore and Dan Cox faced off in the only general election debate held thus far in a forum broadcast October 12 on Maryland Public Television.

Both candidates met the qualifying criteria, including the 10% nonpartisan polling threshold. Some of the topics in this debate included abortion rights, transportation, climate change, and public safety. 

Moore’s public safety focus includes removing illegal guns from the streets, while Cox promises to “bring back law and order and return safety to the streets.” 

After Moore announced his support for a constitutional amendment to protect reproductive rights, Cox explained his anti-abortion positions and noted that Maryland already had strong protections for abortion. 

Democratic nominee Moore advocated for the Red Line and “using transportation assets to address deep congestion on the Beltway.”

The debate became personal at times, with Cox calling Moore a “phony” and Moore asserting that Cox’s extreme ideology and election denial would take Maryland voters backward. Cox announced that some books on gender identity are “disgusting” and that he would plan to remove them from schools as Governor.

Both candidates tried to tie themselves to the legacy of term-limited, outgoing Republican Governor Larry Hogan, even though Hogan has described Cox as “mentally unstable” and Moore has received four times the amount of donations from Hogan donors as Cox.

Anthony Brown, the Democratic nominee for Attorney General and 2014 gubernatorial nominee, said the debate was a “very clear display that solidified all the reasons Marylanders regardless of party should support Wes, a values-oriented veteran, over Dan, who is destructive and divisive.”

Recent polling has Wes Moore with a 32-point lead, more than double Cox’s polling numbers, and he holds a 10-to-1 fundraising advantage. 

Vote-by-mail ballots have already been sent to many voters, and Early Voting is from October 27 to November 3. Election Day will be November 8, and following a recent court ruling, mailed ballots will be counted before Election Day.

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