BALTIMORE — Marylanders' eyes are on the governor's race.
In just a few months, current Governor Larry Hogan will be replaced.
Voters took to the ballots to decide the two candidates who will meet in November's election.
Dan Cox, a far-right state legislator endorsed by former President Donald Trump, won the Republican primary for Maryland governor on Tuesday, defeating a moderate rival, Kelly Schulz, backed by outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan.
Cox will face the winner of the Democratic primary in the November general election. The top Democratic candidates include former U.S. Labor Secretary and Democratic Party chair Tom Perez, bestselling author Wes Moore and state Comptroller Peter Franchot.
At 11 p.m., Wes Moore (36.9%) was leading Tom Perez (26.8%) in the Democratic primary.
Schulz was endorsed by Gov. Hogan.
Wes Moore got a big financial push from Oprah Winfrey.
Moore, a bestselling author, and his running mate Aruna Miller, a former state legislator from Montgomery County, reported about $2.1 million cash on hand in the latest fundraising reports filed by candidates covering the period of Jan. 13 through June 7.
Cox will challenge the Democratic primary winner in November.
However, the winner of the primary may not be decided for a few days, or maybe a couple of weeks.
That's because Gov. Hogan vetoed a bill in this year's General Assembly that would've allowed mail-in ballots to be counted ahead of time. Instead, mail-in ballots can't be counted until Thursday.
More than 500,000 voters in Maryland requested a mail-in ballot.
Whoever emerges from the GOP primary will face steep hurdles in a state that represents one of the best opportunities this year for a Democrat to take back a governor’s mansion. Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the state, but Hogan was able to win two terms by pledging to cut taxes, emphasizing bipartisanship and not being afraid to challenge Trump.
The Republican primary was viewed as a proxy battle between Trump and Hogan, who are offering vastly different visions for the party’s future as they consider 2024 campaigns for the White House. Hogan, one of Trump’s most prominent GOP critics, has urged the party to move on from his divisive brand of politics, while Trump has has spent much of his post-presidency lifting candidates who embrace his election lies.
One of those candidates is Cox, who organized busloads of protesters to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Cox has also said President Joe Biden’s victory shouldn’t have been certified, called former Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor” and sought unsuccessfully to impeach Hogan for his pandemic policies.
On the Democratic side, the leading candidates include Moore; Tom Perez, a former U.S. labor secretary and former Democratic Party chair, and longtime state Comptroller Peter Franchot.
It could take days, or even longer, to determine the winners in the most closely contested races. That’s because Maryland law prohibits counties from opening mail ballots until the Thursday after election day.