With the Democratic and Republican nominees for Maryland governor chosen, the legion of candidates has been reduced to Republican state Del. Daniel L. Cox (District 4) and Democrat Wes Moore, a bestselling author and former CEO of the anti-poverty nonprofit Robin Hood Foundation.
We asked two Jewish supporters to talk about their chosen candidate.
“I would describe [Cox] as a person who cares about the state of Maryland and the people,” said Ruth Goetz, the Republican nominee for the Maryland state Senate seat in District 11. Goetz is also a member of the Baltimore County Republican Central Committee. “He’ll work hard for us, to protect our freedoms.”
Regarding the specific freedoms she felt Cox would protect, Goetz cited the freedom of people to keep their businesses open, to make their own medical decisions and the “freedom to not have the government make decisions for you.”
Goetz added that Cox’s top priority would be to keep the state open, which she contrasted with outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
“He’s very upbeat, he’s very positive,” said Goetz, a member of two Orthodox synagogues in the Baltimore area. “He’s against vaccine passports … which is very [reminiscent] to what the Jews lived under in Nazi Germany, was ‘show us your papers.’”
“So Dan Cox is all for freedom,” Goetz continued. “He doesn’t want to divide people with what they call vaccine passports.”
When asked about Cox’s ties to the Jewish community, Goetz pointed to Cox’s running mate, Gordana Schifanelli.
“[She] is Jewish and she really understands the Jewish community,” Goetz said of Schifanelli.
Goetz advised Jewish voters that “if they don’t like to live as free people and make their own individual decisions, then vote for Wes Moore.”
State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-District 17) was already a Moore supporter and campaigned for him in the run up to the primary vote.
Kagan, who represents Rockville and Gaithersburg, calls Moore “brilliant, collaborative, compassionate, thoughtful, experienced and principled. … It’s a long list.”
“What he talks about all the time is leaving nobody behind,” said Kagan, a member of Congregation Har Shalom. “It was one of the mottos when he was in the Army. And so he believes in all Marylanders having a chance to succeed.”
Kagan called Moore an “exceptional coalition builder,” adding that he “wants people to get a great education so they can get great jobs.”
“And he wants to learn from the very best ideas the recipes for success and emulate it in Maryland,” Kagan said. “Fix what’s broken and continue what’s working.”
Kagan called Moore’s relationship with the Jewish community “very close,” and that he “has a love for the Jewish people.”
Moore has been to Israel, she said, and as CEO of Robin Hood, he worked closely with Baltimore’s Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.
“He has a very intuitive understanding of discrimination,” Kagan said. “He’s passionate about standing up and speaking out on antisemitism, racism, homophobia, sexism, and he will be a leader that wants everyone to be treated fairly and with respect.”
Kagan added that, as “a friend to Israel, Wes Moore is on the record in strong opposition to BDS.”
On Cox, Kagan called him “Maryland’s imitation of Donald Trump, who sowed hatred and division. Dan Cox was at the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, and tweeted that Vice President Mike Pence was a traitor.”
A statement released by Cox in January 2021 said that he was at the Jan. 6 rally where then President Donald Trump addressed attendees, according to Maryland Matters, though it denied that he participated in lethal violence or the takeover of the Capitol.