Republican gubernatorial candidate Del. Dan Cox expressed optimism Monday following new polling that shows him trailing his Democratic opponent by double digits.
Cox made the comments during a stop in Baltimore where he denounced Democratic nominee Wes Moore and called for his rival’s 2010 biography to be pulled from the shelves of Baltimore City Schools for embellishing his ties to the city. A new Goucher poll conducted for The Baltimore Banner and WYPR shows Moore with a 22-point advantage.
“I think the Goucher (poll) is an opportunity for all of Maryland to dig in and say, ‘it’s time to go, we’re rolling,'” said Cox. “This is a very within-striking-distance race. We’re excited. Mr. Moore spent more than $8 million, and I’m running this close to him.”
Cox compared himself to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan who in 2014 was shown trailing his Democratic opponent by 14 points.
That poll, however, was widely discredited at the time because of its over-sampling of black voters and its use of internet click through ads to obtain results.
Cox, speaking to reporters, did not claim that the polling released Monday was erroneous. But he maintained that the poll’s findings of what issues voters care about line up with his campaign.
“If you look at the top three issues, those are the three issues I’ve championed for the past year and a half,” said Cox, referring to the economy, crime and education. “Wes Moore hasn’t championed those issues. So I think that’s an indicator of where we stand.”
Cox is expected in Montgomery County Circuit Court on Tuesday as he opposes a petition by the Maryland State Board of Elections. The board is seeking judicial approval to begin counting mail-in ballots early. Results of those counts would not be released until polls close on election night.
Officials said the large number of mail-in ballots expected in November will surpass the more than 345,000 received in the July primary. The large number of votes caused delays of weeks in large counties including Baltimore and Montgomery.
Cox opposes the petition on the grounds that it is not constitutional and does not meet the definition of an emergency.
He declined to say if he would appeal if the court approves the request by the Board of Elections.
He also declined to say if he would accept the results of the election.
“With the honoring of the Constitution with the law, of course, that gives us a huge measure of support for the process,” said Cox.
“When we see the electoral process upheld, when we see the law upheld, that’s where were going to get our confidence,” he said.
Cox made his comments in front of the Baltimore City Public Schools headquarters. The Republican used the building as a backdrop to highlight more than $15,000 in purchases of Moore’s biography “The Other Wes Moore.”
The book highlights his life and that of another man named Wes Moore. The other Moore was raised in Baltimore and was later sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Baltimore County Police Sgt. Bruce Prothero. But reports in April found Moore embellished his ties to Baltimore. Moore’s family lived in Takoma Park at the time of his birth and lived in the Bronx.
Cox also criticized Moore for failing to correct interviewers who incorrectly described as being awarded a Bronze Star. Moore, a former captain in the Army who served in Afghanistan, has never claimed the medal.
Moore called for the books to be pulled from the school shelves.
Issues about Moore’s book as highlighted by Cox are not new. Many were reported in the spring before the July primary. None seemed to gain traction with Democratic voters at the time.
“People do care,” said Cox, saying Moore’s victory in a large Democratic field came at the hands of “a narrow part of the electorate.”
Cox said he believes they will “resonate” with general election voters.