Wes Moore, the Democratic nominee for Maryland governor, outraised Dan Cox, his Republican opponent, by roughly 10 to 1, giving Moore a massive financial advantage with 10 weeks before Election Day.
The latest campaign finance reports show that Moore took in $1.8 million in the past two months and has $1.3 million to spend, while Cox brought in $195,000 with a cash balance of about $130,000.
“This campaign has continued to show an incredible amount of momentum after a historic primary win in July,” Moore’s campaign manager Ned Miller said in a statement. “It’s clear that Wes has built a coalition that can power him to victory in November.”
In a statement, Cox downplayed his fundraising totals.
“Winning elections is not about having a lot of money. It’s about having enough money,” Cox said, adding that his fundraising is not on the strength of “power-hungry politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and corporate interests” but with the help of “hard-working students, single moms, families, small businesses.”
The reports released Tuesday offer the first glimpse of the financial matchup between Moore, a best-selling author, former nonprofit chief and political newcomer who won a crowded Democratic primary, and Cox, a first term state delegate and lawyer who handily defeated Gov. Larry Hogan’s protege, Kelly Schulz, for the Republican nomination.
They also underscore the uphill battle Cox faces in Maryland, a blue state where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 2 to 1 and where Cox’s biggest supporter, former president Donald Trump, is widely unpopular among most voters.
Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College, said Moore’s haul means he will “have more than enough to run a statewide campaign, complete with effective advertising.” Meanwhile, Cox, who largely won his primary appealing to the Trump base within the state GOP, still needs to introduce himself to a large swath of voters, Eberly said.
“The real danger of course is that Moore has an advantage now that he can use his money to define Cox before Cox has a chance to define himself,” Eberly said.
In the primary, Cox’s candidacy was bolstered by ads touting him that were paid for by the Democratic Governors Association, a political maneuver designed to improve Democrats’ chances of winning in November by avoiding a matchup with the more moderate Schulz. Hogan blasted the DGA over the spending.
Since his win, Cox has faced a splintered state Republican Party, with some top elected Republican officials, concerned about down-ballot elections, opting to stay out of the governor’s race. Hogan, the symbolic head of the state Republican Party, has described Cox as a “QAnon whackjob” and a “nut” and more recently questioned his mental stability, and has said he will not endorse him. In response, Cox said the governor “has a problem with telling the truth.”
Cox has attempted to pivot his messaging since the July 19 primary. He deleted his account on Gab, a social media platform known as a haven for hate speech, and erased portions of his campaign website that mentioned his efforts in opposing the certification of the 2020 presidential election, among other things. Cox is focusing on his opposition to pandemic-control measures, crime in Baltimore and what he calls public school “indoctrination centers” where students are “brainwashed” about sexual and gender identity “behind parents’ backs.”
Cox did not receive any money from federal committees or candidate and slate accounts. Six contributors donated $6,000 — the limit for individual donations — including Gene Schaerr, an attorney who lives in Montgomery County and served in the White House as associate counsel to then-president George H.W. Bush, and Schaerr’s wife, Martha, and Presidential Coalition LLC, which is headed by Citizens United president and Trump ally David Bossie.
Meanwhile, Democrats have rallied behind Moore, whose campaign focus is on “work, wages and wealth” and “leaving no one behind.” His haul includes almost $40,000 from the campaign accounts of current and former state and local elected officials, including $6,000 each from House Appropriations chair Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), former Baltimore City comptroller Joan M. Pratt and Del. Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery). He also received $6,000 from the federal campaign accounts for U.S. Rep. Anthony G. Brown (D-Md.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).
Among some of Moore’s other top supporters in the latest report are: John Angelos, the chairman of the Baltimore Orioles; Tarn Ashman, chief officer of a technology firm from Prince George’s County; veteran lobbyist Bruce Bereano, an ardent supporter of Moore’s primary opponent Comptroller Peter Franchot; and actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson. They all gave $6,000 each.
Moore has raised more than $10.5 million since he launched his campaign last year.