Three Key Takeaways From Maryland’s Gubernatorial Debate


(Government of Maryland)

Benjamin Daresavi, Writer

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (LHS Imprint) – The first, and more than likely last Maryland Gubernatorial Debate was hosted this past Wednesday, which saw Democratic Candidate Wes Moore and Republican Candidate Dan Cox viciously and verbally battling it out in front of an audience of six-million Marylanders. The debate was filled to the brim with plenty of name calling, political theater, and incoherent cross talk.


Democrat and U.S. Army Veteran Wes Moore, who currently leads Republican State Delegate Dan Cox by a 2-to-1 margin in the polls, originally appeared to refrain from agreeing to a debate, as the potential for the all-too-common “American Political Debate Slip-Up” was far too great a risk for Moore to take, considering his comfortable lead in the polls. Cox on the other hand, has been vying for a debate, as it is crucial for his campaign to appeal to a much broader spectrum of voters, as well as the fact that Cox simply has much less to lose.


Attacks on Character

Throughout the entirety of the debate, both candidates didn’t hesitate to hurl the most insane and feeling-hurting character assassinations you could possibly imagine. 


First, Cox accused Moore of lying about his status as a “Baltimore Native,” as Cox claimed that Moore “…wasn’t even there until he was thirty-four.” In addition, Cox accused Moore of  “being a phony,” for his choice to continuously avoid setting a time and place for a debate. Cox’s final call-out for Moore came as a result of the fact that, according to Cox, Moore has somehow been “making millions, and he’s currently living in a three-million dollar home,” while working as the head of an non-profit educational organization.


Moore on the other hand, focused his character assasination on the idea that Cox is an “election denier.” Following a question regarding whether or not Cox would accept the results of election, Moore recited a tweet from Cox to the audience; it read “I am co-hosting two buses to the Million MAGA March/rally with the Frederick County conservative club in support of @realDonaldTrump on January 6, 2021 to #stopthesteal. Demand NO, #ChinaBiden.” Moore later clarified that “Those were the words of my opponent.”


Thoughts on the Hogan Administration

The debate’s panel of moderators asked the two candidates their thoughts on the performance of Governor Larry Hogan’s administration. Hogan, who currently boasts a 73% approval rating, leaves his office as the most popular Governor of Maryland since the year 2000. 


Moore jokingly dodged the question, saying that he wasn’t certain that he’d be able to give Hogan an accurate rating, as his administration hadn’t completed its term. Although he did thank Hogan for calling out what Moore referred to as the “MAGA Movement.”


Cox stated that he’d give Larry Hogan’s performance an ‘A,’ saying that he supports the Hogan administration and the decisions they’d made for Maryland. Moore countered this point by reminding the audience that Hogan, on multiple occasions, has refused to endorse, and often speaks incredibly negatively about Dan Cox and his Trump-endorsed campaign, at one point saying that “not only will I not support Cox, I won’t even give him a tour of the governor’s office.”


Views on Education

When discussing education, both candidates made reference to their own children when proposing their particular methods by which they seek to rectify certain issues regarding education in Maryland. Despite this similarity, both Cox and Moore offered drastically different policies, proposals, and solutions.


Cox promised a greater involvement of parents in schools, and spoke on how he specifically wanted to get the youth of Maryland back into “world class learning,” which he later classified as “reading, writing and arithmetic.” Cox later followed up this statement by claiming that he wanted an end to the “politicization” of school classrooms and “get back to math.”


Moore on the other hand, who is endorsed by the Maryland State Teachers Union, claimed that Maryland educators possessed the same goals for children as the parents of the children, and that collaboration between educators and parents could not be considered “indoctrination.”


Who Won?

Now we can discuss the specific contents of the debate all day, but what I personally think is much more interesting, is who won? I spoke with multiple members of the Leonardtown High School community, and here’s what they thought.


According to Freshman Kenneth Cadena, “Personally, I feel like Dan Cox won this debate. The reason I say that is because I think Cox made a much greater effort to reach across the aisle and appear more moderate, and this more than likely made some fairly decent inroad in the minds of undecided voters, as well as Moore’s voter base.”


According to Government and Foreign Policy Teacher Mr. Goldsmith, “I think they each had moments of looking good and being well prepared, but I think both had moments that showed a lack of executive experience. Personally, I think there was just too much mudslinging from both sides.”


According to Senior Marina Krula, “Overall, I think Wes Moore won the debate not necessarily because of his policies, but because he presented himself as a more thought out and well-educated individual.”


According to Junior Tyler Densford, “I feel as though Wes Moore’s experiences as a veteran really showed through, as he was able to maintain an atmosphere of calm and respectful responses to his opponent, and a person with such qualities would likely make a good governor in my opinion.”