Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox speaks to reporters outside Baltimore City's school headquarters building on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 about opponent Wes Moore's book, "The Other Wes Moore." When asked by reporters about whether he'll accept the results of the general election, Cox did not give a clear answer.

Dan Cox, the Republican nominee for governor of Maryland, has maintained that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Donald J. Trump as part of a conspiracy. He went to Pennsylvania in 2020 as part of “Lawyers for Trump” as the ex-president sought to secure victory in an election he actually lost.

So when it comes to 2022, reporters have been asking Cox: Will he accept the outcome of the election, whether he wins or loses to Democratic candidate Wes Moore?

Cox has not always clearly answered the questions, which are especially pertinent with new polling showing that Cox is significantly trailing Moore. Here’s a summary of what Cox has said this week.

The Baltimore Banner asked Cox directly during a press conference on Monday: “Delegate Cox, whichever way it goes in November, are you committed to accepting the outcome of the election?”

He started his answer by talking about how current Gov. Larry Hogan engineered a come-from-behind win in 2014.

“When we see the electoral process upheld, when we see the law and the Constitution upheld, that’s where we get our confidence,” Cox continued. “And Wes Moore and the board of elections, because Wes Moore has stated he wants to start counting in opposition to the law — they’re the ones not trusting the process.”

What Cox is referring to is a request from the Maryland State Board of Elections to sort and tabulate mail ballots as they come in this fall, rather than following the typical schedule that counts those ballots two days after Election Day. A judge is weighing whether to give elections officials permission to do so, and Moore has indicated he is fine with that change. Cox is challenging the request in court.

The Banner pressed Cox for a clear answer.

Banner: “So do you trust the process? Will you accept the outcome of the election?”

Cox: “With the honoring of the Constitution, the law, of course that gives us a huge measure of support for the process.”

Banner: “So if the court orders that the mail-in ballots can be counted early, then what would be your position on accepting the outcome of the election?”

Cox: “I’m not going to give statements of conjecture and projection.”

Reporters questioned Cox again on Tuesday, outside of a Montgomery County courthouse following legal arguments over how the early-arriving mail ballots should be handled. Cox again avoided direct answers.

“Well, you know, the interesting thing is that right now we are here because there are individuals who are refusing to accept the results of a vote in the legislature. That’s the issue,” Cox said. “Will we trust the constitutional process? I am in full faith and credit with the Constitution and the rules and laws of Maryland. I intend to uphold them as best we can, because that’s the process of competence.”

“But you haven’t answered the question,” a reporter replied. “Will you accept the results of this election as duly certified by the [elections] boards?”

Cox’s response: “And the answer to that question is very clear. Will the process now follow the Constitutional approach to allow for confidence in that election? That’s the issue at stake today.”

“So you’re saying, ‘Not necessarily?’” the reporter asked.

Another reporter tried to pin down Cox on whether there was a difference in accepting the election outcome based on whether mail ballots are counted all after Election Day or some before Election Day.

Cox then rehashed the legal arguments against counting the mail ballots as they arrive. The exasperated reporter said: “You’re not answering any of these questions.” And he posed his questions again.

“I think that I’ve demonstrated acceptance, look at the primary,” Cox said. “We already went through this.”

Cox went on to say he wouldn’t want to speculate about the fall election, and cited the lengthy process to certify results in a primary election in Frederick County this year.

“I’m not going to speculate, but I can say this: I firmly believe, and I want this to be very clear, I firmly believe in our Constitutional process. That’s all I’m asking for here today,” Cox said.

Another reporter asked Cox what his “guiding light” is regarding accepting or not accepting election results.

Cox again focused on the question of counting mail ballots early and his faith in “the Constitution and laws of Maryland.”

“When we undermine those, we undermine the confidence that we have in our elections, particularly when we do so in the midstream,” Cox said. He ended his press conference shortly after without taking further questions about the election outcome.

As for Moore, here’s what campaign spokesman Carter Elliott IV said about Cox’s statements:

“There’s nothing patriotic about Dan Cox’s divisive and dangerous agenda — including his attacks on the very foundation of our democracy.

“Dan Cox denies election results, fights to overturn the will of the people and uses every chance he gets to undermine the very democracy Wes Moore fought to defend as a captain in the 82nd Airborne. Dan Cox isn’t a patriot: he’s a threat to our democracy.”

A June Goucher College Poll in partnership with The Baltimore Banner and WYPR found a majority of Democrats and Republicans surveyed indicated they were at least “somewhat confident” that this year’s state and local elections would be conducted fairly and accurately. But Democrats were much more likely than Republicans, 65% to 21%, to feel “very confident” regarding election processes in the state.

New polling shows that Moore has a significant advantage over Cox, with 53% support to 31% support for Cox. Just 9% of likely voters were undecided in the September poll from Goucher College in partnership with The Baltimore Banner and WYPR radio.

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