The 2022 Maryland governor’s race is getting crowded — and complicated for both parties.
Dan Cox, a pro-Trump state delegate who was previously president of the town commission in Secretary, has entered the GOP primary.
Cox, who represents Frederick and Carroll counties, is a stark Republican contrast to Gov. Larry Hogan, who is term-limited and a leading intra-party critic of Trump. The primary also includes Maryland Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and Robin Ficker.
Cox’s strong support for Trump will be a test of the GOP waters, the split between the party’s populist, neoconservative and business establishment factions and what direction primary voters want the party to navigate. Like other 2022 races, Maryland’s contest will gauge the appetite for a potential third Trump run for the White House.
The Democratic gubernatorial primary also faces some partisan conflicts between the party’s activist progressive wing and the more establishment traditional block.
Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, former Democratic National Committee Chair and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, former state Attorney General Doug Gansler and former U.S. Education Secretary John King are part of a crowded Democratic field along with some upstart candidates.
Democrats have been more unified than the GOP — galvanized by their distaste for Trump and his supporters.
But they still face internal conflicts.
The party’s progressive wing has energy and ideas — and wants results. Candidates for governor will have to address issues such as crime, marijuana legalization, health disparities, criminal justice and police reforms, jobs and taxes.
Democrats will have to do that with an eye on progressives who prefer a more activist and leftward approach and electability in the 2022 general election.
Biden carried Maryland by 33 points over Trump but Republicans have had success in gubernatorial races via Hogan in 2018 and 2014 and Robert Ehrlich in 2002. Biden narrowly carried Talbot and Kent counties on the Eastern Shore, showing the region should not be ignored by either camp.
Trump and progressives have prompted sea changes in the two parties. The 2022 Maryland governor’s race will be a gauge of where those tides of change and disruption stand including for a potential third Trump run for president in 2024.