Oct 31, 2022 - Politics

The local stakes of the Maryland governor race

Photo illustration of Wes Moore and Dan Cox.

Photo illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Drew Angerer/Baltimore Sun via Getty Images

Democrat Wes Moore has a big lead in the Maryland governor's race, giving Democrats in the capital region hope for more collaboration with Annapolis after eight years of Republican Larry Hogan.

Why it matters: Even though Hogan governed as a moderate and enjoyed high approval ratings, he clashed with local Democrats over highway and transit projects and his early pandemic response.

  • Earlier this month, a Washington Post poll showed Moore with a 2-1 lead over MAGA Republican and state delegate Dan Cox.

Catch up quick: Moore, 44, is a former business executive and TV producer who spent part of his early childhood in Takoma Park. He would be Maryland's first Black governor.

  • Cox became a state delegate in 2019 representing Frederick County. He has the endorsement of former President Donald Trump, an enemy of Hogan.

Zoom out: Maryland looks like a rare bright spot for Democrats, who are bracing for a rough midterm outcome in many other blue states across the country, Axios' Josh Kraushaar reports.

Zoom in: Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has a poor relationship with Hogan. He led the opposition to Hogan’s beltway and I-270 widening plans. However, it’s not clear if Elrich would find common cause with Moore on the project.

  • The Purple Line is another local concern. The delayed, state-run project aims to build a 16.2-mile light rail between Bethesda and New Carrollton, spanning Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and connecting Metro’s Red, Yellow, Green, and Orange lines.
  • It’ll be up to the next governor to ensure the line gets built by the new target date of late 2026, after the contractor Hogan initially picked walked away from the job in 2020.

Moore's spokesperson Carter Elliott wrote in an email that the candidate would "ensure localities have the ability to directly give input on construction projects" and "will work to expedite the construction of the Purple Line."

  • Cox's campaign did not return a request for comment.

Between the lines: The governor of Maryland has historically ranked as one of the most powerful among counterparts in the 50 states, although some of their budget authority has been diluted in recent years.


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