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Trump-backed far-right candidate Dan Cox wins Maryland Republican primary

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Dan Cox, a far-right Maryland legislator endorsed by former president Donald Trump, won the Republican primary for state governor on Tuesday.

Mr Cox defeated moderate rival Kelly Schulz who was backed by outgoing governor Larry Hogan.

The governor who was prohibited from running for a third consecutive term in a majorly Democratic state had backed Ms Schulz, a former member of his cabinet, to be the successor to his bipartisan leadership, reported Associated Press.

Mr Cox on the other hand, has opposed the Hogan administration’s policies including suing over his stay-at-home orders and regulations in the early days of the pandemic. He also tried to unsuccessfully impeach him for Covid-19 orders that Mr Cox called “restrictive and protracted”.

“We will never again give over our bodies, our churches and our businesses to a lockdown state,” Mr Cox said on Tuesday night after his victory.

Mr Cox also organised busloads of protesters to Washington for the “Stop the Steal” rally that preceded last year’s Capitol insurrection.

He has also said that president Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory shouldn’t have been certified, and referred to former vice president Mike Pence as a “traitor.”

He later deleted the tweet and issued an apology.

His victory was hailed by Mr Trump who called for him to run for president next.

“RINO [Republican In Name Only] Larry Hogan’s Endorsement doesn’t seem to be working out so well for his heavily favoured candidate,” Mr Trump was quoted as saying prior to Mr Cox’s victory was announced.

He added: “Next, I’d love to see Larry run for President!”

After Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Darren Bailey in Illinois, Mr Cox becomes the third ultraconservative state legislators endorsed by the former president Trump who have gone on to win their Republican nominations for governor.

During the election campaign, the former president had referred to Mr Cox as “a highly respected lawyer who is tough and smart … Dan is MAGA [Make America Great Again] all the way. Unlike his opponent named Kelly Schulz who along with Larry Hogan, bad news.”

“It may be Maryland, but Republicans are Republicans, and Trump is incredibly popular among Republicans, and he’s immensely popular among the base of the party,” Todd Eberly, a professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland was quoted as saying to The Washington Post of the Republican primary.

“Cox is the perfect candidate for an election that is all about the base — and when most folks aren’t paying attention.”

Mr Cox will face the winner of the Democratic primary in the November general election.

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