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Dem Wes Moore opens 22-point lead in race to replace Gov. Larry Hogan in Maryland

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Democrat Wes Moore is leading Republican opponent Dan Cox by 22 points in the race to be Maryland’s next governor, according to a new poll released Monday.

About 53 percent of Marylanders would currently back Moore and 31 percent would vote for Cox, according to the survey from Goucher College, The Baltimore Banner and WYPR. Moore enjoys a similar lead among voters who list how favorably they view the candidates.

Underscoring the lead further, 69 percent of voters said they are “set on this candidate,” and only 28 percent said they could change their mind.

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Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Center for Politics at Goucher College, said Democrats are in “a strong position to sweep the statewide contests this cycle” in Maryland.

“Moore is viewed favorably by a majority of state voters, and perceptions of his mix of progressive and moderate politics aligns with how many Maryland voters view themselves,” Kromer said in a statement.

Moore is an author and former CEO of an anti-poverty nonprofit, and Cox is a representative in Maryland’s House of Delegates. The gubernatorial candidates are seeking to replace retiring Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

Hogan, a moderate Republican who has called Cox a “QAnon whackjob” and accused him of not being “mentally stable,” has said he won’t endorse either candidate in the race.

Cox has repeated former President Trump’s false claims the 2020 election was stolen and organized buses headed to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He also tried to impeach Hogan for his pandemic policies. The GOP candidate is backed by Trump.

About 35 percent of Marylanders described Cox as far or extreme right in the new poll. That’s compared to 13 percent who describe Moore as far or extremely left. About 36 percent said Moore was progressive or liberal.

Kromer said Trump’s endorsement of Cox “secured his primary win” but has put him “at odds with the Democratic and independent voters he needs to build a winning coalition” in blue Maryland.

According to WYPR, Moore has also outraised his opponent, with $1.4 million cash on hand at the end of August compared to Cox’s roughly $200,000 in the bank.

Moore and Cox have agreed to an Oct. 12 debate on Maryland Public Television.

The poll was conducted from Sept. 8-12 among 1,008 Maryland residents. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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