State Roundup: Moore, Cox tangle in first and only gubernatorial debate; state delays privatization of W. Maryland Hospital services

State Roundup: Moore, Cox tangle in first and only gubernatorial debate; state delays privatization of W. Maryland Hospital services

From left, Jason Newton of WBAL-TV moderates Wednesday's debate between Republican Dan Cox and Democrat Wes Moore. Screenshot from MPT video.

THE MOORE-COX DEBATE: POT SHOTS AND ISSUES: Gubernatorial candidates Dan Cox and Wes Moore tangled, sometimes viciously, Wednesday in their first, and probably only, televised debate. Supporters lined the streets outside the WBAL-TV 11 station Wednesday afternoon, holding posters, chanting and waving as cars drove to the station for the debate. Abby Zimmardi and Shannon Clark of Capital News Service/

  • Dan Cox, left, and Wes Moore trade insults during the only debate between the two candidates. Screenshot from MPT.

    The debate got off to a fiery start, with Cox calling Moore a “phony” just minutes into the debate when both were asked about only participating in one debate. Bryan Sears/The Daily Record.

  • Framing Moore as a radical leftist was Cox’s debate strategy throughline. He repeatedly invoked Moore’s 2020 comments, in which the Democrat did not pledge to defund the police but ruminated on reallocating police funding. Moore countered that while Cox touts backing the blue, “the blue doesn’t back you.” The Maryland police union endorsed the Democrat for governor. Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner.
  • Democrat Moore sought to portray himself as equity-minded military veteran and former non-profit CEO who would govern with a sense of urgency. Cox, a Republican state delegate from Frederick County and a full-throated supporter of former President Trump, pledged to be an advocate for parents. Bruce DePuyt and William Ford/Maryland Matters.
  • “I’m standing on stage with an extremist election-denier whose rhetoric and whose policies are not just dangerous and divisive but will take this state backwards,” said Moore, who started reading aloud Cox’s tweet about hosting buses of his constituents to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6. Cox leaned into claims that he’s presented before with little evidence — including that Moore has lied about where he was born and that Moore supports policies that take funding from police. Sam Janesch and Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
  • They clashed over each other’s credibility, the definition of freedom, and their stances on abortion, crime, election integrity, LGBTQ rights and the existence of a racial wealth gap. Ovetta Wiggins and Erin Cox/The Washington Post.
  • Gun control and racial equity were also addressed during the debate. John O’Connor/The Baltimore Banner.
  • Moore, who has declined several invitations to gubernatorial debates and forums so as not to give Cox a platform, agreed in late August to participate in Wednesday’s debate. Unless plans change, it was the only time the candidates will go head-to-head onstage. Sam Janesch and Hannah Gaskill/The Baltimore Sun.
  • Here’s four notable details from the debate, including that Cox at times fumbled to articulate his message. Pamela Wood and Emily Sullivan/The Baltimore Banner.
  • You can watch the debate here. John O’Connor/The Baltimore Banner.

CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR FORUM: Please join us for an online virtual forum for the candidates for governor (Oct. 13) Here’s the flyer. Register there to see the governor forum live.  All the candidates on the ballot except Democrat Wes Moore chose to participate. The League of Women Voters is the lead sponsor along with,, Maryland Nonprofits, Maryland Latinos Unidos and the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center for Public Policy, the online host.

STATE DELAYS W. MARYLAND HOSPITAL PRIVATIZATION PLAN: The Maryland Department of Health withdrew its requests to a state spending board on Wednesday that would have given the agency broad powers to approve two health care contracts worth tens of millions of dollars to outsource staffing at Western Maryland Hospital Center. The agency will still pursue the contracts for the Hagerstown facility by standard procedures. Rachel Baye and Brenda Wintrode/WYPR-FM and The Baltimore Banner.

  • At issue for the powerful three-member Board of Public works was whether to approve outsourcing up to $128 million in skilled nursing, long-term acute care and brain injury services before a vendor was selected, an accelerated timeline that critics of the contracts say term-limited Gov. Larry Hogan wants locked in before he leaves office. Jenna Portnoy/The Washington Post.
  • Maryland Health Secretary Dennis Schrader told the Board of Public Works members that the state would seek a more conventional arrangement to provide health care services in Western Maryland later in the fall. Josh Kurtz/Maryland Matters.

POLL: MOST AGAINST TEACHING LGBTQ RIGHTS TO ELEMENTARY KIDS: Most Maryland voters do not support public school teachers discussing acceptance of LGBTQ people with elementary school students, according to a Washington Post-University of Maryland poll. But a majority do support teachers having those discussions with older students. Nicole Asbury and Emily Guskin/The Washington Post.

BALLOT DROP BOXES INSTALLED STATEWIDE: With Maryland’s general election day less than a month away, all ballot drop boxes have been installed across the state, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections. Maryland’s general election day will be held Nov. 8, with polls open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Anyone in line to vote by 8 p.m. on election day will be able to cast a ballot. Marcus Dieterle/Baltimore Fishbowl.

SULLIVAN-ELRICH RACE FOR MO CO EXEC: County Executive Marc Elrich remains optimistic in his chances to earn a second term as Montgomery County’s top elected official as he faces Republican Reardon Sullivan in the Nov. 8 general election.  Steve Bohnel/Bethesda Beat.

BA CO ELECTIONS OFFICIALS REVERSE DECISION ON EARLY COUNTING: The Baltimore County Board of Elections will begin counting mail-in ballots ahead of the Nov. 8 election, officials announced Wednesday, reversing a previous decision to wait. Ruie Lavoie, county elections director, said canvassing of mail-in ballots will start Nov. 5. Emily Opilo/The Baltimore Sun.

ENTIRE MO CO PLANNING BOARD RESIGNS: The County Council announced Wednesday that it has accepted the resignation of all five members of the Montgomery County Planning Board, saying it has lost confidence in the board. Julie Rasicot and Ginny Bixby/Bethesda Beat.

About The Author

Cynthia Prairie

Contributing Editor Cynthia Prairie has been a newspaper editor since 1979, when she began working at The Raleigh Times. Since then, she has worked for The Baltimore News American, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Prince George’s Journal and Baltimore County newspapers in the Patuxent Publishing chain, including overseeing The Jeffersonian when it was a two-day a week business publication. Cynthia has won numerous state awards, including the Maryland State Bar Association’s Gavel Award. Besides compiling and editing the daily State Roundup, she runs her own online newspaper, The Chester Telegraph. If you have additional questions or comments contact Cynthia at:

1 Comment

  1. CRaig Purcell

    Why no discussion about how to turn our cities around like Baltimore, Cumberland, Hagerstown, Cambridge, Salisbury, etc… in the face of vigorous road driven sprawling development patterns which eat up forest and field & despoil the air and water? Nary a word about the third bay bridge driving all the ensuing strip centers, spec offices with big parking lots and wrapper apartments going up like weeds with little supporting mixed use development. Nary a discussion about building statewide transit systems and the building towns and cities in keeping with our historic forms of Maryland townscapes with walkable streets. Got ecological conservation ?

    Instead we get name calling and hot button issues playing out at the national level ?

    We need more debates to get the issues on the table.

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