On Tuesday night, far-right state Dale Dan Cox won the Maryland gubernatorial primary. He was leading by 16 percentage points on Wednesday night over his nearest rival, Kelly Schultz. He won the state’s most conservative counties, near the West Virginia border, with over 60% of the vote. He won generally liberal counties such as Baltimore City and the Washington, D.C., suburbs. Schultz, Larry Hogan, a former cabinet official in the popular GOP government, is managing to win only two of the state’s 24 jurisdictions.
Cox is completely disqualified in Maryland, a state President Joe Biden won by 30 percentage points, where both liberal college-educated white voters and black voters are plentiful. A staunch advocate of former President Donald Trump’s lies about the election, Cox arranged a bus caravan for Trump supporters to attend a January 6, 2021 Washington rally that preceded the attack on the US Capitol. During the attack, Cox tweeted: “Mike Pence is a traitor.”
That’s not all: Cox backs impeaching Hogan over his support for COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as the mask mandate. He’s at least flirted with the QAnon conspiracy theory movement. He supports the repeal of Maryland’s gun control laws and heavily restricting abortion rights.
A certain look of punditry will tell you that Cox’s victory is the result of Democratic interference: The Democratic Governors Association, wanting to ensure an easy victory in November for the Democratic nominee, has put up $5,000 on ads highlighting these stances ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Spent more than 1 million. , Democratic groups, especially the DGA, have spent millions of dollars on similar advertisements aimed at promoting equally ineligible candidates in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Illinois and elsewhere.
These efforts have inspired no small amount of biting teeth. Republicans who have stood up for Trump’s election lies, including Hogan, late. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) And Rape. Peter Meijer (R-Mr.)has suggested that it shows that Democrats are not serious when they call these candidates a threat to democracy.
Other Democrats, often not looking back on Hillary Clinton’s veiled hopes that Trump will win the GOP presidency in 2016, say these efforts are doomed to backfire.
Many of these concerns are valid. It’s entirely possible that Doug Mastriano, the Christian nationalist and election-denial candidate who won the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Pennsylvania, could win what looked to be a strong year for Republicans. (Polling shows Maastriano is trailing by a greater margin than the Democratic nominee, Attorney General Josh Shapiro.) Some Democratic operatives have suggested the millions now spent will be of greater use in November.
There is also a clear question about whether it is ethical to support candidates who threaten democracy in any way.
But many of these criticisms overlook a more important fact: GOP voters. want to Candidates like Maastriano and Cox. The fact that these candidates think the 2020 presidential election was stolen, that they wholeheartedly embrace conspiracy theories, Christian nationalism and unshakable conservative views are features in the GOP primary, not a bug. Otherwise democratic intervention will not work.
In addition, Republican leaders have sided with candidates who have supported similar views. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) refuses to remove Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green (R-Ga.) from her committee positions. The National Republican Senate Committee is set to spend millions this fall to boost the campaign of Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, who sought to reverse Biden’s victory in the Silver State.
None of the advertisements aired by the Democrats have concealed their motives. In the past, Democratic mediation efforts have used anodyne names such as “Duty and Country” to hide who was behind the television commercials they funded. That hasn’t happened in 2022: Democratic candidates and groups have aired ads in their own names or otherwise made it clear that Democrats are behind the ads.
And most of these ads are direct lessons of Republican candidates’ stances on the issue. see for example DGA Advertisement Promoting Cox It mentions support for Trump, Cox’s support for reversing the 2020 election results, his support for gun rights, and opposition to abortion rights.
Republicans opposing Cox, led by Hogan, held press conferences to shed light on what the DGA was doing. It didn’t matter to the state’s Republican voters, who happily ignored their state’s over-popular governor. (Here, it’s worth noting that Hogan’s fellow ultra-popular East Coast Republican governor, Charlie Baker of Massachusetts, decided not to contest again After it became clear he would lose to a Trump-backed challenger in the primary.)
Democrats also noted that Hogan hardly seemed fully devoted to Cox’s defeat, spending weeks campaigning in New Hampshire and Republican Governors Association meeting in Colorado to meet with donors as he talks about the potential 2024 was ready for the presidency.
A second race Tuesday in Maryland drives home the apparent GOP desire for ultra-conservative candidates. Republican nominated Michael Perotka, a neo-federal activist Whose views are even more right-wing than Cox in the race for attorney general. There was no democratic interference in the race. Peroutka was leading on Wednesday night by a 16-point margin over his rival, moderate former prosecutor Jim Schaleck, which was similar to Cox’s lead over Schultz.
Similarly, Maastriano voted consistently in the Pennsylvania primary well before any Democratic attempt to put his thumb on the scale. Darren Bailey, the conservative candidate who was promoted by Democrats to the Illinois gubernatorial race, didn’t have a consistent lead — but ultimately won by 42 percentage points.
There are places where Trump-backed, election-denied candidates have flopped in primaries, most notably in the secretary of state race in Colorado and Georgia. but as The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake noted, both of those states have open primaries, allowing independents and even some Democrats to vote. When a closed primary leaves the GOP base to its own devices, there is little chance of stopping a Trump-style Republican.
Colorado is the state where Democratic efforts saw the biggest flop that could most easily backfire. The National Democrats spent nearly $5 million promoting the campaign of election-deprived state Representative Ron Hanks, while also playing down the liberal credentials of businessman Joe O’Dea. The hope was that Republicans would choose the seemingly infallible Hanks.
Instead, Republicans nominated O’Dea—meaning Democrats spent significant amounts of cash on ads driving the GOP candidate’s moderation.
Multiple attempts to interfere in election failed: Republicans worked unsuccessfully To promote a Progressive House candidate in Kansas in 2018, and Democrats tried to raise the unpopular Chris Kobach at the GOP Senate Primary in Kansas in 2020.
At the same time, Democrats owe their 50-seat majority in the Senate a . belongs to successful intervention campaign In the 2018 West Virginia GOP primary, that enabled Sen. Joe Manchin to clinch victory against a weaker opponent.
Colorado’s gubernatorial race, however, may provide the best example yet of why some Democratic operatives believe the distinction between a Trump-style Republican and the party’s mainstream is irrelevant. There, Democrats hoped to oust the alleged moderate candidate, University of Colorado Regent Heidi Ganahal. they failed.
On Monday, Ganahal announced his running mate: a businessman who hosted a conservative leadership event at his home that featured John Eastman, the law professor who helped Trump reverse the election, and who The election itself was called “theft”.