Dan Cox deletes his account on Gab, an online hub notorious for hate speech

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Republican Maryland gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox deleted its account on Gab, a social media platform known as an online hub for hate speech and white nationalists, and his campaign website is no longer Remarks his fight against the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election.

Cox took down more than 1,000 posts by deleting her profile from the site, which welcomes users banned from other platforms. A web archive page of his activity preserved none of the posts themselves, and the Cox campaign would not discuss them.

The cleanup of his Gab account and website appears to be an attempt by the campaign — which recently brought in out-of-state staff — to reset after its main contest against a moderate Republican in a considered race. by many as a proxy war between Gov Larry Hogan, who backed Kelly Schulz, and former President Donald Trump, who backed Cox.

The Cox campaign removed and revamped other elements of its website after winning the July primary, including references to ‘a natural right’ to gun ownership, and vows to ban transgender athletes in women’s sports and to conduct an audit of the 2020 presidential election, which he called “stolen”.

Cox’s pivot away from some of the policies he has championed is emblematic of the broader challenges some Republican primary candidates have faced in swing states across the country as they look to the general election and vie for the support from independents and other voters.

In Wisconsin, Trump-endorsed Tim Michels, the GOP gubernatorial candidate who highlighted Trump in the primary, launched his first post-primary ad this month. not to mention the former president. And in Kansas, Republican candidates up and down the ticket are readjust their campaign messages away from abortion after voters rejected a ballot initiative to restrict abortions.

The political calculus for Republicans in Maryland is more stark: Registered GOP voters make up less than a quarter of the electorate, so appealing to independents and conservative Democrats is key.

“If he had any hope of being competitive, to any outside observer, he had to try to find a way to moderate his appeal,” Todd Eberly, a political scientist at St. Mary’s University, said of Cox. Eberly said it seems obvious the campaign has been “looking for ways to hide some of the more controversial parts of its past.”

“The closest we ever got to a Dan Cox run in the entire state of Maryland was Donald Trump, and you saw how badly he came out of it,” Eberly said. Trump lost Maryland to Biden by over a million votes in 2020.

The Cox campaign did not grant an interview request or respond to written questions about the changes.

Gab, which bills itself as ‘the free speech social network‘ and loves allowing users to post what they want, made headlines about four years ago when the man accused of opened fire on the Tree of Life Synagogue has been linked to anti-Semitic comments on the Platform. Robert Bowers, who has been charged with more than 60 counts related to the murder of 11 people, has posted on Gab for years. Gab said he removed it from the site after the shooting and notified authorities.

Cox’s move away from Gab comes after his friend, Doug Mastriano, a state senator and Republican gubernatorial candidate from Pennsylvania, came under heavy criticism over his use of the platform, his colleagues state Republicans calling on him to condemn the site. Last month, Mastriano set his account to private and then deleted it, according to the front, an influential Jewish media.

In the general election, in a tough race to keep the governor’s mansion in Republican hands, Cox, a lawyer and first-term state delegate, needs registered Democrats, who outnumber Republicans by a margin of 2 to 1 in Maryland, to cross the party lines. He must also entice some of the large number of independents to vote for him over Democratic candidate Wes Moore, a bestselling author and former nonprofit leader.

To be competitive in the blue state, where Hogan won two terms, Republican candidates statewide need about a quarter of Democratic voters on their side. A June survey by Goucher College found that 9% of Democratic voters surveyed said they would consider voting for Cox. Twenty-three percent of Democrats said they would consider voting for Schulz, who lost the primary to Cox by nearly nine percentage points.

As Cox’s strategy evolves, he’s been quieter about his role in challenging the 2020 presidential election results and, to some extent, about Trump, whose support has bolstered his primary race. .

His updated campaign website removed a prominent endorsement and photo of Trump from its main page.

Some time after the primary, the Cox campaign deleted this sentence from the “Meet Dan Cox” section of his website: “As one of President Trump’s volunteer attorneys in Philadelphia during the 2020 election and at the Maryland State House, he led the fight for the integrity of elections.”

The pre-primary landing page pledged to conduct a forensic audit of the 2020 election. There is currently no mention of an audit on the page.

Some of the changes are subtle. His main biography lost a sentence describing Cox as “a staunch Second Amendment fighter”. However, a separate section of the website says more broadly “Delegate Cox is a strong supporter of the rule of law and our bill of rights, and the practical application of those rights under the first, second, fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution” and links to a page of Cox video clips “Defending the Right to Bear Arms”.

In addition to the deletions, since his first win, Cox has denied organizing buses for the ‘Stop the Steal’ rally, although his January 2021 tweet said he was ‘co-hosting’ Frederick buses for the rally. of January 6 at the Capitol. .

Meanwhile, on the website, he expanded his “promise” to the black community, championing “religious exemptions from mandates,” empowering “black churches to compete for state resources for their communities,” and making advancing “homeownership and financial literacy in the Black community. .”

While doing a partial pivot on some issues, Cox doubled down on others, including opposing vaccinations and other pandemic control measures, calling for ‘law and order’ in Baltimore and calling public schools “indoctrination centers” where students are “brainwashed” about sexual and gender identity “behind the backs of parents.”

Since the primary, Cox has continued to campaign in red areas of the state. But he is also trying to make inroads in Democratic strongholds. In Facebook posts, there is a video of him playing basketball with black teenagers on a Baltimore City playground and pictures of him speaking to a group of Latino ministers at a meeting in Montgomery County.

And though he mentioned Trump less, he posted a $6,000 donation from Citizen United chairman and Trump ally David Bossie on his Facebook page. He also came to the former president’s defense earlier this month by criticizing federal officials for the FBI’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home and promising to use state police. of Maryland against the Biden administration if he became governor, saying he would stave off federal overreach.

This week, just days after Hogan publicly questioned his mental stability, Cox sent a fundraising email to supporters alleging that Moore is promoting a “practice of social government control” with a plan to reestablishing a Children’s Governor’s Office to address disparities for children, which would include studying and tracking student performance over time.

Cox’s running mate Gordana Schifanelli tweeted that Hogan should be removed from the Republican Party for saying he doesn’t think Cox is mentally stable.

Cox’s nomination exposed a rift within the state’s Republican Party, with Hogan vowing not to campaign for Cox. Other high-profile Republicans, worried about how it might affect the downside races, quietly distancing themselves from the GOP nominee.

The GOP candidate also posts different content on his Twitter feed and his Truth Social account. Over the weekend, he slammed Moore on Truth Social for his comments about structural racism.

“Maryland doesn’t need a woke governor,” the message began.

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