Del. Cox announces gubernatorial running mate

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Oct. 1—Del. Dan Cox has announced Queen Anne's County lawyer Gordana Schifanelli as his running mate in his bid for Maryland governor.

The pair appeared together in Facebook photos from a campaign event Thursday after filing Wednesday to run together.

According to reporting from The Baltimore Sun, Schifanelli founded a group known as the Kent Island Patriots. The organization became known after it criticized a former Queen Anne's County Schools superintendent who called for a change in dialogue on racism and supported the Black Lives Matter movement.

In 2020, Schifanelli sued a Queen Anne's woman for defamation, claiming the woman sent doctored screenshots of her social media posts to the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, where Schifanelli is an adjunct faculty member, according to reporting from the Capital Gazette.

Neither Cox nor Schifanelli responded Friday to requests for comment from The News-Post.

Cox, a delegate in District 4, is a conservative Republican known for his ardent support of former President Donald Trump. In a video announcing his candidacy, he called critical race theory — an academic framework for examining how racism is embedded in American institutions — "propaganda" and said he would push for a bipartisan effort to lower Maryland's taxes.

During his first term in the General Assembly, Cox unsuccessfully sued Gov. Larry Hogan (R) over the state's COVID restrictions, expressed support for the QAnon conspiracy theory and compared a mental health bill to the Holocaust. He also tweeted during the Jan. 6 insurrection of the U.S. Capitol that then-Vice President Mike Pence was a traitor for certifying the 2020 presidential election results.

Also in Annapolis, Cox spearheaded legislation to establish a task force to study crime classifications and penalties and a bill that required courts to post a human trafficking hotline. Both passed unanimously.

In the last session, Cox advocated for a bill that would've ended Maryland's state of emergency order related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It didn't make it to a vote.

Since Cox announced his bid, Republican Joe Werner of Baltimore County and running mate Minh Thanh Luong joined a field that already included Maryland Commerce Secretary and former Frederick County delegate Kelly Schulz and Montgomery County anti-tax activist Robin Ficker.

Kyle Sefcik, an unaffiliated candidate from Montgomery County, has also joined with Katie Lee.

Nine Democrats have announced campaigns for governor. They are: Rushern Baker, the former Prince George's County executive; Jon Baron, a former nonprofit executive and federal official; Peter Franchot, the state's comptroller; Doug Gansler, a former attorney general of Maryland; Ashwani K. Jain, a former official in the Obama administration; John King Jr., a former U.S. secretary of education; Wes Moore, an author and businessman; Tom Perez, the former Democratic National Committee chairman and U.S. secretary of labor; and Mike Rosenbaum, a businessman.

The state's primary is scheduled for June 28, 2022, and the general election is slotted for Nov. 8, 2022.

Follow Jack Hogan on Twitter: @jckhogan

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