Marylanders should vote for Kelly Schulz in the July 19 Republican primary, to keep Democrats from winning the governor’s race this fall. Schulz is the only Republican candidate for governor who has a chance of winning in the November election. Schulz would be competitive with Democrats in the general election, while the other main Republican candidate, Dan Cox, would be slaughtered in the general election. Democrats want Cox to win the primary, so that Republicans will lose in the general election. That’s why the Democratic Governors Association has spent over a million dollars on ads in favor of Cox — because Democrats know Cox will lose in the general election to a Democrat. Cox himself has encouraged Democrats to vote for him in the Republican primary.
Kelly Schulz managed to convince Maryland’s Democratic-controlled legislature to pass some legislation that attracts businesses and creates jobs, convincing even Democratic legislators to occasionally do the right thing. That took political skill. Cox, by contrast, has been unable to pass any legislation in the last 3 years, even the sort of dinky bills a Republican can get passed in a Democratic-controlled legislature.
Electing a Republican governor in Maryland is important. Even in a liberal state, having a Republican governor can make a big difference. Maryland has an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, but its moderate Republican governor, Larry Hogan, has managed to limit government spending, allowing Maryland’s taxes to fall relative to other states during Hogan’s governorship. According to the Illinois Policy Institute, state and local tax burdens fell in Maryland for the average resident (not all residents, but the average resident) between 2019 and 2022, at a faster rate than in all but four other states.
By contrast, in neighboring Virginia, which is more conservative but had a Democratic governor and legislature until this year, state and local tax burdens rose faster than all but two other states (Connecticut and Illinois) from 2019-22. Even a moderate Republican like Maryland’s Governor Hogan is much less willing to raise taxes or waste money than a Democrat (even a supposedly mainstream Democrat like Virginia’s Ralph Northam).
Maryland’s legislature is left-wing — more than two-thirds Democrats. But Maryland’s moderate Republican governor, Larry Hogan, was able to keep some horrible left-wing bills from becoming law, by getting relatively moderate Democrats like former state senator Bobby Zirkin to sustain his vetoes. (Other bad bills became law under his governorship, because it only takes a 60% vote to override the governor’s veto in Maryland, and Democrats have more than two-thirds of the seats in the state legislature).
If Schulz is elected, she will be able to convince a few Democrats to sustain her vetoes of some wacky left-wing bills. If Cox is elected — and he won’t be, he is much less popular with independent voters in Maryland than Schulz — he won’t be able to convince Democrats to vote against wacky left-wing bills, because he has seldom been able to convince legislators about anything. By contrast, Schulz can get Republicans and moderate Democrats to vote together to pass some good legislation and kill some bad legislation.
It is critical that a Republican governor in Maryland know how to do damage control and limit the amount of bad laws coming out of the state’s overwhelmingly Democratic legislature. The Maryland House of Delegates has 99 Democrats and only 42 Republicans. The state senate has 32 Democrats and only 15 Republicans. And, again, it only takes a 60% vote of the state legislature to override the governor’s veto.