Cox, Moore stand opposed in 2022 MPT Gubernatorial debate

Dan Cox and Wes Moore faced off on Wednesday for the televised debate ahead of the November election.


Michael Ciesielski Photography/Courtesy of MPT

Dan Cox and Wes Moore at the Maryland Public Television gubernatorial forum on Oct. 12.

Owing Mills, Md. — People held picket signs on both sides of the entrance to Maryland Public Television’s production center on Oct. 12 for the first gubernatorial forum with both major party candidates this year

One side’s signs supported Dan Cox, the Republican candidate, and the other supported Wes Moore, the Democratic candidate.

If elected, Moore would be the first Black governor in Maryland. Aruna Miller, Moore’s running partner, would be the first foriegn-born Lieutenant Governor in Maryland’s history. For Moore though, he is “not doing this to make history.” 

The small crowd gathered to show support for their respective candidates at MPT’s Gubernatorial Debate between Cox and Moore. 

Both candidates stated their platform and answered questions from guest correspondents, as well as questions from students attending Morgan State University and Salisbury State University.

This was the first debate to feature both Maryland governor nominees. Moore declined to participate in the Spokesman’s own gubernatorial forum with Cox last month.

“We have amazing people and incredible potential but not everybody is in the position to succeed,” said Moore during his opening statement. “Leave no one behind. As your governor, that will be the new mission for the state of Maryland.”

Moore continued his opening remarks and stated his intention to work with communities and law enforcement to foster greater public safety, maintain Maryland’s current stance in women’s reproductive rights, and the possibility of making Maryland a sanctuary state for said rights.

Cox followed Moore and stated his platform as the Republican candidate.

“I am a husband … [I have] a lovely family of 10 children. In the state house, I served for many years and worked as a small business man. I understand the pain of putting food on the table as so many Marylander are feeling right now,” said Cox.

Cox further stated his past stand with Governor Larry Hogan in public safety initiatives and tax policy, his stance on parental rights, and his pro-life intentions.

“I am pro-life,” said Cox. “One of the things that is near and dear to my heart is that everyone is safe, that women and children and the unborn, all have equal protection and are supported by our laws.”

Abortion is considered healthcare in Moore’s eyes as he said he trusts women to make the decision with their doctors.

“The state of Maryland should never stand between the difficult decision that a woman has to make … about this issue,” said Moore. “In a Moore-Miller administration, we will protect reproductive rights. We will make sure Maryland is a safe haven for abortion care.”

Correspondents Pamela Woods, Alexis Taylor, Jeff Salkin, and Tracee Wilkins asked both candidates pointed questions. The questions probed into Cox’s previous support for the riot at the U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6, 2021, Moore’s perceived hesitance to debate Cox until now, both candidates’ future designs on reparations to the Black community, as well as future plans to close equity gaps among the state’s citizens.

Cox said the only thing to discuss pertaining to reparations is to ensure that businesses and previously established wealth is poised to prosper once again.

“Transferring wealth away from people because of their skin color, that’s racist,” Cox said.

Moore disagreed.

“The impacts of racial disparities did not start two years ago. We are watching something that has been a long term challenge that our state has got to overcome and address,” said Moore.

Moore also spoke on the inefficacy of the state minimum wage, and ways to close the wealth gap in minority communities. He challenged Maryland school system’s focus on test scores to judge its success, and a myriad of other barriers that prevent success in underserved communities.

“We’ve got to focus on creating pathways for work, wages, and wealth,” said Moore. “That means addressing things like unaffordable homes. That means addressing things like unfair appraisal values in historically redlined neighborhoods. That means fixing broken procurement laws in the state of Maryland that cause for 29 percent goals in community participation, but we have not come close to hitting that number.”

Moore’s support to establish equity in Black and minority communities was a source of contention for Cox.

“My opponent has stated on record that he is for reparations — an inappropriate, divisive approach to healing the divides that we all know and love, than to seek healing.” said Cox.

Cox further asserted the greatness of historical figures, Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman, was due to their use of the Constitution to pursue civil rights laws and advance everyone’s freedom.

“We need to get back to reading, writing, and arithmetic,” said Cox. “We are going to restore world-class education in Maryland. and I am proud to be a part of that plan.”

Guest correspondents also raised questions about LBGTQ+ rights and education.

“We’re not doing enough,” said Cox. “I fought against a bill that would literally allow 12-year-olds to receive counseling without their parents even knowing. What I will do also is ensure that the indoctrination stops. We cannot have transgender indoctrination in kindergarten. I will stand against that and eradicate it from the curriculum.”

Cox reiterated the need to learn core subjects, reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as science and technology-focused fields of study, “so that our kids can learn as God intended them to learn.”

Each opponent gave final remarks summarizing the key points of their campaign. Cox reiterated his strong belief in parent involvement, Maryland safety in supporting police budgets, support of lowering taxes, and improving education. 

Moore asserted his position as a pro-choice candidate and his desire to ensure equal acess and opportunity to voters.

Correspondents, guests journalists, and governor nominees convened briefly in MPT’s broadcast studio following the debate. Both Moore and Cox answered additional questions from the media.

Moore did not respond favorably to a potential future debate with Cox.

“No, I think I’m good,” said Moore. “He is someone who does not believe in democracy. He is someone who does not believe that all votes should be counted.”

Cox did not directly answer any questions regarding his opinion of the 2020 election’s integrity.

“I think when you look at all elections, they have a free and fair opportunity in the courts,” Cox said. “That’s why I was a constitutional lawyer in the courts. I’m very grateful for that process.” 

Cox will look to increase his funds available with 26 days until Election day. Currently Moore has outraised Cox “10 to 1.” Cox will be fundraising at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate on Oct.17, hoping the former President’s endorsement can signal a victory.

“Well, it’s very helpful and it’s exciting,” Cox said. “It’s my wife’s birthday. So we’re looking forward to hopefully spending a moment together”

Donna Quanti, a camerawoman for MPT, was not convinced by Cox’s rhetoric.

“When youre talking about abortion and comparing it to COVID, COVID effects everyone; abortion does not,” Quanti said.“It’s not up to for a man to tell me as a woman, you cannot have an abortion.”

Wilkins, a panelist and Emmy-award winning reporter, said the debate may be a pivotal moment for each candidate. She said, “Maylanders got to see the differences between the two candidates.”

Each candidate ended their additional time for media questions, closing the forum.

“I think there’s a stark difference between the candidates,” said Cheryl Bost, president for of the  Maryland State Education Association. “We have a candidate in Dan Cox who really chastises educators, wants to put in place ‘school choice’– moving students out of our public education system – not supporting our students who’re LGBTQ or their families. We have in Wes Moore someone who listens to educators. Who supports public education and has a vision for supporting and moving public education forward for all students.”