“If we don’t wake up and defend our country, we will lose it,” Dan Cox, the Republican, Trump-endorsed candidate for Maryland governor, told The Epoch Times in an interview ahead of Election Day.
“We are on the cusp of setting aside the Bill of Rights permanently. And I’m running to say never again, not on my watch, and not on the watch of any patriot, are we going to take a path of government totalitarianism ever, ever again in this land.”
In the interview, Cox, a lawyer who has served as an elected member of the Maryland House of Delegates since 2019, provided insights into the state of Maryland’s gubernatorial race, revealing that his campaign’s “internal numbers show us surging among Democrats and independents.”
He added, regarding his prospects for victory over his opponent, Democrat Wes Moore, “Biden is coming here [to Maryland] for his fourth time to campaign for my opponent. That’s how frightened they are.”
“We’re having a surge … of Democrats and independent voters coming our way. We’re very excited. We see this on the ground. And we’re running hard for the win,” Cox said.
A RealClearPolitics polling average shows Moore, a veteran and investment banker, with a double-digit lead.
Cox’s platform includes positions in support of small businesses, election integrity, and individual liberty, particularly with respect to pushing back against COVID-19-related lockdowns and government-mandated vaccination of employees in both the private and public sectors.
“Marylanders want freedom,” Cox said. “We have a beautiful nation and we have a beautiful state, but too many people are feeling that they’re chased out of our state because of the draconian taxes, the horrific crime, and the far-left woke ideology being indoctrinated to our children in school, while at the same time schools are not producing academics for kids.”
Cox, who earned a bachelor’s degree in government and politics from the University of Maryland and a J.D. from the Regent University School of Law before starting his own law practice, said that he was a “Ronald Reagan fan” growing up, and called Donald Trump “one of the greatest presidents of all time.”
“[Ronald Reagan] is my hero, and then to see President Trump do the same thing … one of the greatest presidents of all time has been President Trump holding the line for us and leading the way for America First values.”
Cox has received Trump’s strong support and endorsement for Maryland’s governorship. In his endorsement, the former president called Cox “an America First Patriot … tough lawyer … and smart businessman” who “has done outstanding work in the Maryland General Assembly.”
Lockdowns and the Importance of Maryland’s Governorship
When asked about the importance of Maryland’s government at the national level, Cox said that the state “is used as a DNC [Democratic National Committee] model to try to force policy through much of the nation, similar to California. They try to bookend the nation with these two states, and I have fought here against that.”
Cox said that he has witnessed firsthand the effects of COVID-related lockdowns, including stay-at-home orders and government-ordered business closures, which he called a “direct attack” on small businesses.
“For the first time in 400 years, our churches and our businesses were closed by order of the executive, and under penalty of arrest,” Cox said, referencing lockdowns in Maryland during the pandemic. “And that’s illegal and is never going to happen again. And we’re going to make sure that we right those wrongs.”
He added: “For 17 years I’ve been a civil rights and constitutional lawyer and running my own business, which meant that I’ve learned additional truths about the difficulties of small business and the opportunities that we have in America. And to see the oppression in Maryland directed against 50 percent of our economy, which is small business, has been one of the motivating factors of why I’m running for governor.”
Cox pointed to lockdown orders in Maryland issued by outgoing Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has reached the state’s legal two-term limit for the governorship, as evidence of the power and importance of the governor’s office.
“Maryland has been one of the worst lockdown states in the nation. A lot of people don’t understand this,” Cox said, adding that residents have faced mask mandates, including continuing mandates in medical facilities, for two years.
“Today, I have clients, nurses, once again, being fired from their jobs because [medical facilities] won’t accept their religious exemption for taking the experimental jab. And that’s illegal, unconstitutional, and it’s still going on. And it’s because of the executive.”
Cox noted that “the governor of the state has the supreme power in these so-called emergency actions,” and said that he intends, as governor, to reverse such actions and restore jobs to workers in Maryland’s private and public sectors who have been fired or lost their positions “because of these draconian policies.”
He said that this policy would include restoring jobs to over 5,000 teachers and more than 3,500 nurses and healthcare workers who left their jobs due to COVID-related policies, and cited a recent court order in New York, in which fired unvaccinated workers were reinstated to their positions, as a precedent.
“I will do the same, and I will order back pay, both for the government sector and the private sector. Any private industry that’s done this, they’re in violation of our civil rights laws, and I’m going to go after them.”
Cox comes from a family of 10 children of which he is the eldest, and has 10 children of his own with his wife Valerie. He described the background and values that have shaped him as a public servant, including with respect to education policy.
“I was very grateful for a wonderful upbringing,” Cox said. “We had a family farm … and my grandfather was a World War II fighter pilot. And they believe strongly in pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps and getting the job done and working hard, and if you want something you go work for it.”
Cox said that his grandfather was the first in his family to go to college, and that Cox’s father also obtained a college education, attending Maryland’s Towson University.
He said that he has a vision “to not only expand private education, but also to uplift our governmental system, including our public schools,” and pointed to schools in Baltimore, Maryland’s largest city, as an example.
“Some of these Baltimore city kids, it was estimated 50 percent, from the last reports I saw, had literacy issues where they couldn’t necessarily even read when they were graduating in some of the schools there. Now that’s not all the schools, obviously, but it’s too many,” Cox said.
“There are 14 schools in Baltimore city that do not have adequate heat and air, and this has been going on for 20 years. It’s ridiculous. And I intend to try to change that.”
Cox said that supporting parents’ rights with respect to overseeing their children’s education and “making sure parents are not cut out of education” is an important part of his platform.
“Right now, they’re cutting parents out of education in Maryland,” Cox said. “I’m going to change that and end it.”
According to Cox, he and his campaign have been working vigilantly to defend against election fraud, and alleged ongoing issues in Maryland with respect to election integrity, including the lack of chains of custody and signature verification for mail-in ballots.
“At this point, the mail-in ballots have no security. They have no signature verification. Zero. So there’s no way to know whether or not these mail-in ballots are actual voters,” Cox said.
“We’re monitoring it carefully, and any fraud that we find, particularly any stuffing and ballot boxes with ballot harvesting, we’re reporting to the police, and we will prosecute anybody that violates election laws if they’re caught.”
Cox described his experience contesting the results in the 2020 election in Pennsylvania as part of the Lawyers for Trump coalition, and how this relates to conditions in the 2022 gubernatorial election in Maryland.
He alleged that a key goal of lockdowns ahead of the 2020 presidential election was to create a pattern, including in swing states like Pennsylvania, in which states “would be required to basically have an expansion of the mail-in balloting, which has no chain of custody verification.”
“That’s why I served on the Lawyers for Trump team in Philadelphia [in 2020] to try to stop the fraud,” Cox said.
The candidate said that he and other members of the Lawyers for Trump team identified “over 110,000 false mail-in ballots,” but that these ballots were eventually “waved in” by others and counted in the 2020 presidential election.
Cox said that, in addition to his work in Pennsylvania, he has also worked to defend election integrity in Maryland.
“Sure enough, the lack of chain of custody, the lack of signature verification exists in Maryland,” Cox said. “[In 2020, President Trump] had more votes than the first time he won my county [Frederick County] against Hillary Clinton. But so-called ‘Basement Biden,’ who couldn’t get five people to stand in a circle at his events, somehow had the highest vote count in history in Frederick County [Maryland] by a surge of over 30,000 mail-in ballots that had no chain of custody and no signature verification.”
In 2020, Biden received 77,675 votes in Maryland County, compared to Trump’s 63,682. Of those votes, Biden received 47,054 by mail-in ballot, versus Trump’s 13,628. In 2016, Trump won the county with 59,522 votes, compared to 56,522 votes for Hilary Clinton.
Challenging Early Counts
In September, during the current 2022 election cycle, Cox filed a motion to oppose the four-member Maryland State Board of Elections’ efforts to count mail-in ballots early, in violation of Maryland state law, which only allows mail-in ballots to be opened and counted starting the Thursday morning after Election Day.
The Maryland State Board of Elections petitioned for the continuation of a pandemic-related emergency relief provision from 2020, enabled at that time through an executive order from Maryland’s current governor, which allowed mail-in voting ballots to be opened and processed in advance of the 2020 Election Day, and without a change in state law through the Maryland General Assembly that Maryland’s constitution would otherwise require.
A move this year by the Maryland General Assembly to make this change in mail-in vote counting procedure permanent, however, was vetoed by Maryland’s governor due to election security concerns.
Subsequent to this, a circuit court judge in Maryland’s Montgomery County effectively bypassed the governor’s veto by granting the Maryland State Board of Elections’ petition for emergency authorization to begin mail-in vote counting earlier than Maryland state law allows, with counting beginning on October 1.
The Baltimore Sun reported that this ruling was “to accommodate a deluge of mail-in ballots expected this fall,” with Maryland’s State Board of Elections estimating that one million mail-in ballots could be cast in the general election. The Washington Post editorial board wrote in a September op-ed that the circuit court judge in this case “overreached into what is properly legislative terrain” and handed Cox what it called a “gift” of “a grievance that he might use to challenge the legitimacy of Maryland’s election.” The Maryland Court of Appeals upheld the decision in October, however.
“The State Board of Elections, with the Wes Moore campaign in support, forum-shopped for a judge to overturn the governor’s veto, and allow early counting the ballots,” Cox said. “This is a precedent like none other. It was unconstitutional.”
He added, “So we questioned that, we put motions in to assert that that was unconstitutional, and the courts held that there was an emergency, once again using so-called fake emergency powers to completely set aside the constitution and to allow counting of ballots without chain of custody or signature verification or the ability to observe.”
Cox said that since mail-in ballots are now being counted early, before Election Day, “There’s no way… we can have a lawyer or a team member standing next to the elections officials who are opening these ballots every single day. That’s just unreasonable across the thousands of precincts and the 24 jurisdictions in Maryland.”
He added that the lack of a chain of custody and signature verification for mail-in ballots in Maryland is a problem that needs to be fixed.
“When you have no signature verification and you’re opening ballots for a month and separating ballots from envelopes, there’s no way to follow the law for any candidate to be able to challenge those mail-in ballots ever again because they’re forever separated from the envelopes. That’s what’s happening,” Cox said.
“So there is no process or procedure to protect the integrity of an election in Maryland. And we’ve challenged that in court, and the highest court in Maryland turned us down.”
Despite these setbacks, Cox and his team are doing everything to bolster the integrity of the election system, he said.
“Now, are we standing by for more protection over voter fraud? Yes. If we catch them we’re going to not only litigate that issue, we’re going to refer for prosecution, because it is a felony,” Cox said. “You cannot commit voter fraud, and we intend to uphold the law in every way. And I do have our team looking at some injunctive relief issues, potentially.”
Cox noted that reporters have asked him whether he is “prepared to accept the results of the election.”
“The election that’s fair, that follows the law and constitution needs to be upheld and not cast into doubt. But that means we have a law, that means we have a legal process of questioning whether the law was upheld,” Cox said.
“For the reporters who misrepresent the truth, they need to look at the fact that this is not a partisan issue to uphold the law and to be able to challenge things,” Cox said, adding that it is “fake news that even asking questions under the law is somehow wrong. So I intend to do everything in my power and, yes, we do have attorneys on our team, and we do have a fraud hotline set up to make sure that the election is done in a fair and constitutional manner.”
“We’ve got to get control back and make sure our ballots are verified,” Cox said. “I intend as governor to make that happen.”
The Epoch Times has reached out to Moore’s campaign for comment.