Maryland Democratic Party Talking Points

For Oct. 3, 2022

What’s MDP saying this week? We continue to hit the GOP from different angles every day, while simultaneously lifting our party and our ticket. Last week, we released three statements and held a well-attended press conference at our HQ in Annapolis alongside Senators Kagan and Hettleman to call on Dan Cox to accept election results in November, which he has refused to do.

We made it clear that Cox’s decision to file an appeal against the court’s ruling regarding the counting of mail-in ballots isn’t a surprise by any means. It’s straight from his cult leader’s playbook of deny and delay. It is, however, disheartening. When an election process is dragged out, confusion, misinformation and tension can lead to negative things. The election process is a pillar of the American experiment that is democracy. Without a free and fair election, the idea of democracy erodes. 

We applauded the court’s decision and we’re confident that everyone will see Cox’s appeal for what it is – an effort to please his extreme MAGA followers, rather than a legitimate appeal based on facts or process. And we reminded Marylanders that if Dan is already struggling to accept a loss in court in September, then November won’t be much fun for him.

Michael Peroutka doubled down on Cox’s appeal in a bizarre radio rant that included wild and ignorant claims about same-sex marriage, reproductive freedom, and the general way that democracy and law in this country works. 

It would be easy to write them off and ignore their rhetoric. But we can’t fight misinformation with silence. And we can’t fight fear or gaslighting with timidity or apprehension. Because we’ve seen the awful things that can happen when the extreme MAGA wing gets influenced and incited by people like Trump, Cox and Peroutka. 

What do we say to voters who think we have this election in the bag: Voters might see poll numbers or they might hear how we’re a blue state and assume this election is wrapped up. That kind of indifference won’t work and we don’t want that kind of complacency. The recent poll numbers are reflecting the Democratic momentum of our candidates and the campaign. Good news for us, but we have to remind them that polls have been wrong before, specifically in this same race in 2014 and 2018. We can’t get lost in the temporary snapshot of 700 Marylanders’ enthusiasm about this election, we need to continue to build on this momentum and give a decisive victory to our whole ticket. The only poll that matters is Nov 8. Additionally, we remind voters that reproductive freedom is on the ballot. Safety and equity are on the ballot. Economic and educational advances are on the ballot. A Maryland led by Dan Cox with a QAnon flag hanging outside the Governor’s Mansion is the biggest threat to democracy our state has seen. We’ve also seen how slim majorities in Congress lead to gridlock and we can’t afford that in Maryland if we want Governor Moore and our ticket to have a chance to make real change. This new era will need a supermajority in the General Assembly and as many Democrats in office as possible. 

Let’s talk (amongst ourselves) about that poll: I’d like to take a minute to discuss the Washington Post poll that was released this weekend showing our candidate up by 32 points on the GOP candidate. As we’ve said before, a poll is not good news, it’s not bad news, it’s just news. It’s just a poll. The only poll that matters is on November 8. 

What we CAN take from the poll was that the top three key issues on the minds of voters are economy, threats to democracy, and crime. We as a team must be clear with voters that our plans to improve the economy and combat crime are better options for Marylanders, and that Republicans under a QAnon, extreme MAGA leader like Dan Cox would be the biggest threat to democracy that our state has ever seen. 

Some other interesting facts from the poll just for our reference:

  • WaPo/UMD Poll 9/22 – 9/27
  • 810 registered voters, +/- 4% margin of error
  • Overall: 60% Wes – 28% Cox, 12% neither or undecided
  • 86% of Dems say they’d vote for Wes right now
  • 22% of GOP say they’d vote for Wes right now
  • 38% of Independents say they’d vote for Wes, 38% for Cox
  • Cox leads by 15% in Southern MD/Eastern Shore
  • 51% favorable opinion of Wes, 28% favorable for Cox
  • 17% dislike Moore, 41% dislike Cox
  • Support among women: 68-20 in favor of Wes
  • Support among men: 50-36 in favor of Wes

From the DNC: 

Republicans continue to push extreme national abortion ban: Yesterday, NRSC Chair Rick Scott opened the door to supporting a national abortion ban, saying there are “arguments to do” an abortion ban “at the federal level” on Meet the Press. National Republicans’ extreme agenda is clear: they want to ban abortion nationwide and will stop at nothing to take away women’s reproductive freedom.

At the federal level, Senator Lindsey Graham introduced an extreme national abortion ban bill that would roll back women’s reproductive rights. Under Senator Graham’s ban, doctors and providers could be criminalized for:

  • Performing an abortion to save the health of a mother
  • Offering a full range of miscarriage care
  • Providing an abortion to a woman carrying a fetus with little to no chance of survival
  • Treating a rape or incest survivor who has not complied with medically unnecessary delays or reporting requirements.
  • If passed and enacted, this bill would create a nationwide health crisis, imperiling the health and lives of women in all 50 states.

On the campaign trail:

Our outstanding comms advisor, Ernest Bailey, has put together a weekly talking points doc on our gubernatorial opponent – Dan Cox. A few key ones are below: 

  • Last week, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals rejected Cox’s motion for a stay to prevent ballot-counting from being allowed to begin this past weekend. His broader argument will be heard by the Court of Appeals on Oct. 7.
  • Cox’s entire argument is that he is concerned about process, going so far as to claim he supports early-counting of ballots but court-ordered changes in middle of an election undermines confidence. But Cox had no problem accepting the results of the GOP primary, the date of which was pushed back by court order.
  • Cox also voted against the legislative effort to fix the issue. He has opposed a smooth election process every step of the way.
  • The late counting of mail-in ballots in 2020 in Pennsylvania, where Cox worked for Trump’s legal team, spurred Trump supporters to claim fraud yet Cox made every effort to force that same situation on Maryland’s election this year. Cox still claims the 2020 presidential election was stolen. Cox doesn’t want to compete for votes, he wants chaos and fertile ground for his conspiratorial claims
  • Cox spent the last week lying about his record on issues ranging from his role in helping to stoke the insurrection to his actions on January 6th to his current effort to slow the counting of mail-in ballots.
  • On multiple occasions last week, Cox claimed to “support early counting” of ballots, positioning himself as standing “with the governor who vetoed the bill.” The reality is that he is on the record against mail-in balloting in general, voted against the legislation to fix the issue and he is not with Gov. Hogan, who has maintained throughout Cox’s challenge that he strongly supports the Board of Elections’ effort.
  • In the leadup to the insurrection, Cox boasted that he co-hosted buses to from Maryland to DC on January 6th to attend Trump’s Stop the Steal rally. Nearly two years later, barely a month ahead of the general election, he wants to convince everyone that it was a big misunderstanding and he’s just now getting around to correcting the record. His late efforts to re-write history don’t pass the smell test.

Andy Harris voted against veterans AND 9/11 victims this week. 

While Peroutka makes wild and ignorant claims on reproductive freedom, same-sex marriage, and overall democracy, Anthony Brown is hosting an upcoming roundtable on Abortion Access, on Saturday with Del. Ariana Kelly, Del. Jheanelle Wilkins, Planned Parenthood and Pro-Choice Maryland:

We have Aruna Miller coming on our podcast this week!