Maryland Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox spent Monday at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, raising money alongside the ex-president.

The Cox campaign has not responded to questions from The Baltimore Banner about the event, including how many attended or how much money was raised. An event invitation said tickets were $1,776 and those who achieved a “$25,000 raise” could get a picture with Cox and Trump.

There are questions about how the money is handled, given that Maryland law limits donors to $6,000 per candidate per election cycle. Cox previously told The Baltimore Banner: “The president is helping us do this without anything back to him.”

Photos from Monday night’s fundraiser are circulating on social media.

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One of Cox’s daughters posted several pictures with the caption: “The Best Is Yet To Come!”

Her pictures show Cox speaking at a podium, wearing a dark suit and a red tie, with Trump standing alongside and looking on. Trump also is in a dark suit, with a light yellow tie.

Other pictures show guests at the event, wearing suits and cocktail dresses among tables covered in white tablecloths.

Cox heavily promoted Trump’s endorsement during the primary, when the the first-term state delegate was taking on Kelly Schulz, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s hand-picked choice to replace him. While Cox’s alliance with Trump may have helped him win the Republican primary election this summer, it’s unclear if the strategy will work this fall. In a September survey conducted by Goucher College Poll in partnership with The Baltimore Banner and WYPR, 61% of those surveyed said they had an unfavorable view of the former president.

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Cox, like Trump, has asserted that the 2020 presidential election won by President Joe Biden was actually “stolen” from Trump. Cox has not committed to accepting the outcome of this fall’s Maryland election.

Ahead of the Mar-a-Lago fundraiser, the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore blasted Cox’s trip to Florida.

“While Wes Moore is meeting with Marylanders in Western Maryland, Dan Cox is down in Mar-a-Lago kissing the ring of Donald Trump and reasserting his fealty to the dangerous MAGA movement,” Moore spokesman Carter Elliott IV said in a statement Monday. “If Dan Cox understood either the outcome of fair elections or the values of Maryland families, he would know that Marylanders have resoundingly rejected Trump’s extremist agenda in the two elections.”

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Asked to respond, Cox wrote in an email: “I’m a lifelong Marylander fighting for all of Maryland’s freedom while privileged New Yorker Wes Moore plans to take away even more of your money with drastic government spending during this inflation crisis.” Moore lives in Baltimore but previously lived in New York City.

Cox’s statement went on to criticize Moore as having “extremist” policies and a “phony” personal story.

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Cox and Moore are the top contenders for governor as Election Day is three weeks away. Independent polling shows Moore has a sizable and growing lead over Cox.

Voting by mail has already started in Maryland. In-person early voting is scheduled for Oct. 27-Nov. 3, followed by traditional Election Day on Nov. 8.

Pamela Wood covers Maryland politics and government. She previously reported for The Baltimore Sun, The Capital and other Maryland newspapers. A graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, she lives in northern Anne Arundel County.

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