Daniel Lewis Cox (born August 9, 1974) is an American far-right politician.[1][2][3] He is a Republican who represents the fourth district in the Maryland House of Delegates.[4] He was also the secretary of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee from 2018 to 2021, and served as a Frederick County co-chair for the state’s Trump Victory Leadership County team.[4][5][6] He is the Republican nominee in the 2022 Maryland gubernatorial election[7] and has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.[8]

Early life

Cox was born in Washington D.C. on August 9, 1974.[4] He started out in Takoma Park, Maryland, but his family moved north to Frederick County after his father, a minister, took a job there. He grew up on a farm near Taneytown, Maryland.[9]

Education and career

He attended the University of Maryland Global Campus, where in 2002 he earned a BS degree in government and politics. He attended Regent University School of Law where in 2006 he earned a J.D. degree with distinction. He has been a member of the Maryland State Bar Association since 2006[4] and was a sole practitioner outside of Emmitsburg, Maryland.[9]

Political involvement

Cox says he has been active in politics since 1980, when he campaigned with his parents for Ronald Reagan. He also worked on the 1996 presidential campaign of Alan Keyes and as an aide to former U.S. Representative Roscoe Bartlett.[10] From 2007 to 2009, he was the President of the Town Commission of Secretary, Maryland.[4] He was the Republican nominee for Dorchester County Circuit Court Clerk in 2006, losing the race to Democratic nominee Michael L. Baker.[11][12] He was the Republican nominee for Maryland’s 8th congressional district in 2016, losing the race to Democratic nominee and state senator Jamie Raskin.[13][14]

2016 House of Representatives election campaign

On February 1, 2016, Cox filed to run in 2016 in Maryland’s 8th congressional district.[15]

Cox was described as being the most conservative candidate in the Republican primary race.[10] He campaigned on imposing a 10 percent flat tax for incomes over $36,000 and eliminating payroll taxes, strengthening gun ownership rights, abolishing the Internal Revenue Service, and reducing funding and programs for the departments of Commerce, Education, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development.[9] He supported Ted Cruz in the 2016 Republican Party presidential primaries.[10] Cox won the Republican primary with 44.4 percent of the vote.[16]

In the general election, Democratic Party nominee Jamie Raskin defeated Cox (61%-34%).[13][14]

Involvement in January 6 attack on the Capitol

In November 2020, Cox said that he was part of a Republican legal team observing the count of mail-in ballots in Philadelphia during the 2020 United States presidential election.[17] After Donald Trump was defeated in the 2020 presidential election, Cox endorsed Trump’s false claims of a “stolen” election and called for a “forensic audit” of the 2020 election results.[18]

Cox helped arrange for buses to take constituents to the “Save America March” in Washington, D.C., on January 6, 2021; the rally preceded the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol, in which a mob of Trump supporters disrupted Congress’s counting of the electoral votes in a failed attempt to keep Trump in power. During the rally, Cox sent a tweet attacking Vice President Mike Pence, writing “Pence is a traitor.”[8][19] After receiving backlash, Cox tweeted and retweeted false claims blaming “antifa” for the attack on the Capitol.[20] Cox later said in June 2022 that his Twitter post was “his way of expressing his disappointment and not a personal attack on the vice president.”[21]

The Frederick County Democratic Central Committee began a letter-writing campaign calling for Cox to be expelled from the House of Delegates for his false claims.[22] Two days later Cox issued a statement denouncing “all mob violence including those who broke into the U.S. Capitol.”[22] In the statement Cox said he had attended the rally, but was not involved in the storming of the Capitol. He did not retract his statement about Pence.[22] Governor Larry Hogan and Steven Clark, the chairman of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee, denounced Cox’s comments, and delegate Kathleen Dumais, the co-chair of the House Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics, said that the committee received some inquiries about Cox’s tweets.[23][24]

In February 2022, representatives from Our Revolution and other progressive groups urged the Maryland State Board of Elections to consider blocking Cox from the ballot for his participation in the insurrection, citing Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution.[25] In May 2022, a lawsuit was filed against Maryland Elections Administrator Linda Lamone, seeking to remove Cox from the 2022 Republican primary ballot for his presence during the Capitol attack.[26] Anne Arundel County circuit court judge Mark W. Crooks dismissed the case on May 20, 2022.[27]

2022 Maryland gubernatorial campaign

Cox and Schifanelli campaigning at the J. Millard Tawes Crab and Clam Bake in October 2021

In late June 2021, Cox filed paperwork to run for governor in 2022, and formally announced his candidacy on July 4, 2021.[28][29] He launched his campaign with a campaign rally in Cambridge on August 6, 2021.[30] He picked Gordana Schifanelli, an Eastern Shore lawyer, as his running mate.[31] On November 22, 2021, Cox received the endorsement of former president Donald Trump.[32][33]

Ahead of the primary election, Cox threatened lawsuits seeking to invalidate mail-in ballots.[34]

As polls showed Cox and Kelly Schulz, his opponent for the Republican nomination, running neck-and-neck in polls, the Democratic Governors Association spent $1 million for a television advertisement promoting Cox, hoping he would win the nomination and be easier for Democrats to defeat in November.[35][36][37] Cox denied receiving any support from the DGA, saying that he had “nothing to do with the ad purchase”.[38]

Cox won the Republican primary on July 19, 2022, defeating Schulz with 52.0 percent of the vote.[7]

Political views and statements

Abortion

In February 2021, Cox joined delegates Kathy Szeliga and Sid Saab at a protest against abortion at the Maryland State House.[39] He has cosponsored several bills that would prohibit abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected, including the Maryland Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act (HB 1195).[40]

In June 2022, Cox praised the Supreme Court‘s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which overturned Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey.[41] During his gubernatorial campaign, Cox said that he would end taxpayer funding through Medicaid for abortions.[21]

Climate change

Cox rejects the scientific consensus on climate change.[42] Cox voted against the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2021 (SB 414),[43][44] a proposed climate bill that would have included a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a level that is 50 percent lower than it was in 2006 by 2030.[45]

COVID-19 pandemic

In April 2020, Cox posted a portion of the state constitution on his Facebook page after Maryland governor Larry Hogan issued an executive order implementing a stay-at-home directive.[46] He later challenged the legality of Hogan’s statewide mask mandate.[47] U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake struck down his lawsuit on May 20, 2020, saying that the state and country are “now in the grip of a public health crisis more severe than any seen for a hundred years.”[48] He withdrew his request for a temporary restraining order on July 20, 2020.[49] Blake again rejected another lawsuit against COVID-19 restrictions filed by Cox in November 2020.[50] In December 2020, Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge James Bonifant rejected a request made by local restaurants represented by Cox and attorney Ed Hartman to reverse an executive order issued by County Executive Marc Elrich that prohibited indoor dining at restaurants.[51]

In May 2020, Cox attended a rally in Annapolis which protested Hogan’s stay-at-home orders alongside delegates Warren E. Miller and Brian Chisholm, former delegate Deb Rey, 7th congressional district special election candidate Liz Matory, 2nd congressional district candidate Tim Fazenbaker, #WalkAway founder Brandon Straka, and 2022 gubernatorial candidate and perennial candidate Robin Ficker.[52] Later in the month, Cox posted a tweet promoting a conspiracy theory linking the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the coronavirus pandemic.[53]

In October 2020, Cox provided legal representation for a Harford County man who was arrested for not wearing a mask at a polling place, arguing that the pair were only ordered to wear masks once they were inside the facility and election staff learned that they were Republicans.[54] The family’s request for a temporary restraining order to allow them to vote without wearing masks was rejected by Harford County Circuit Judge Angela M. Eaves.[55]

In January 2021, Cox cosponsored the Consent of the Governed Act, which would remove the governor’s ability to unilaterally declare a state of emergency and would require the governor to form a special session to extend any state of emergency declaration for longer than fourteen days, which would require two-thirds approval from both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly.[56] In February 2021, Cox proposed a resolution that would immediately end Hogan’s coronavirus emergency declaration.[57] In March 2021, he introduced a bill that would ban any requirement to show proof of “a medical examination, a vaccination, a medical test, or any other medical information” for employment or travel, and would allow parents to object to a child’s vaccination as a requirement to be admitted to a public school.[58]

In June 2021, Cox called on Hogan to end the state’s coronavirus emergency declaration.[59] In August 2021, Cox used his Facebook page to ask his constituents to e-mail the Maryland Board of Education to demand that they reject an emergency universal masking mandate regulation for the 2021–2022 academic year.[60]

Cox claims to have survived COVID-19 twice, saying that during one of his bouts with the virus, he took hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin he obtained in Florida.[21][61] Currently, ivermectin is used to treat parasites in livestock and river blindness in humans. It is not approved by the FDA for treatment of COVID-19.

In January 2022, Cox attended a rally against vaccine mandates in Annapolis, Maryland.[62]

In February 2022, Cox introduced articles of impeachment against Governor Larry Hogan for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.[63][64] The Maryland House Rules and Executive Nominations Committee voted unanimously to reject the articles of impeachment.[65]

Healthcare

During his 2016 House of Representatives campaign, Cox said that he would move to scrap the Affordable Care Act if elected.[10]

On Holocaust Remembrance Day in April 2021, Cox said he would vote against a bill to allow minors to consent to some health care services, comparing it to the infringement of “the rights of parents” by Nazis.[66] Cox’s Nazi analogies were criticized by the local Jewish Community Relations Council.[66] Cox defended his remarks in a letter accusing his colleagues of twisting the words he used during an emotionally-charged floor debate to gain partisan advantage, and offered no apology for his comments.[67]

Immigration

During his 2016 House of Representatives campaign, Cox strongly rallied on regulating immigration. He said that he would support the full enforcement of existing laws and passage of Kate’s Law, which would establish mandatory minimum five-year prison sentences for any immigrant convicted of reentering the country after being deported.[10]

Cox opposed HB892,[68] a bill that would require a warrant in order for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to search through the state’s driver’s license database.[69][70]

Cox strongly opposed the Dignity Not Detention Act, which would have required people arrested for federal civil crimes to be detained in federal facilities rather than in state or local facilities. During the House debate before the bill’s final vote, Cox read off a list of offenses that local law enforcement agencies would not be able to use to pass undocumented people over to ICE after they completed sentences for their crimes. The bill passed the Maryland General Assembly with a veto-proof majority, but was vetoed by Governor Hogan on May 27, 2021.[71][72]

QAnon

In October 2020, Cox made a post on his Twitter account that contained hashtags related to the QAnon conspiracy theory.[73][74]

In April 2022, Cox attended “Patriots Arise for God and Country” conference in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The event was organized by QAnon conspiracy theorists Francine and Allen Fodsick and featured images of conspiracy theories related to the September 11th attacks, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and vaccines.[75]

Social issues

During his 2016 House of Representatives campaign, Cox said that he did not support an increase in the minimum wage.[9]

In August 2017, Cox served as the attorney in a lawsuit challenging the Frederick County Public School‘s policy on transgender students.[76] The plaintiffs dropped the lawsuit on November 28, 2017, citing stress and potential humiliation that stemmed from the legal action.[77] Cox has said that he would ban transgender students from competing on girls’ sports team in schools.[78]

In September 2019, Cox introduced a bill to add “dignity of the human body” to the state’s hate crime statute to cover spitting on the victim.[79][80][81][82]

In March 2021, Cox voted against HB667, a bill that would abandon “Maryland, My Maryland” as Maryland’s state song.[83][84]

Personal life

Cox has been married to his wife, Valerie, since 1996[85] and has ten children.[86]

Electoral history

Republican primary, Congress, Maryland 8th district, 2016[87]
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Cox20,64744.4
RepublicanJeffrey W. Jones9,34320.1
RepublicanLiz Matory7,29515.7
RepublicanShelly Skolnick5,83512.5
RepublicanAryeh Shudofsky3,4217.4
General election, Congress, Maryland 8th district, 2016[88]
PartyCandidateVotes%
DemocraticJamie Raskin220,65760.6
RepublicanDan Cox124,65134.2
GreenNancy Wallace11,2013.1
LibertarianJasen Wunder7,2832.0
Write-ins5320.1
Maryland House of Delegates District 4 Republican Primary Election, 2018[89]
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Cox7,72835.5
RepublicanJesse Pippy7,05232.4
RepublicanBarrie Ciliberti7,01832.2
Maryland House of Delegates District 4 General Election, 2018[90]
PartyCandidateVotes%
RepublicanDan Cox33,30320.6
RepublicanBarrie Ciliberti31,81719.7
RepublicanJesse Pippy31,07119.2
DemocraticLois Jarman22,80714.1
DemocraticYsela Bravo21,90113.6
DemocraticDarrin Ryan Smith20,46212.7
Write-ins920.1

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