Republican candidate for governor Del. Dan Cox has picked a Queen Anne’s County lawyer deeply involved in controversial schools issues as his running mate.
Cox filed his candidacy paperwork on Wednesday listing Gordana Schifanelli as his running mate, becoming the first high-profile candidate to make his campaign official.
Schifanelli is an attorney who founded the Kent Island Patriots group, which has been used as a platform to criticize a former Queen Anne’s County schools superintendent who had called for better dialogue on racism and publicly supported the Black Lives Matter movement.
Schifanelli also is an adjunct faculty member at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in the economics department. Schifanelli sued a woman who had posted screenshots of her online commentary and tagged the academy. Schifanelli claimed the screenshots were doctored.
That lawsuit is still pending, according to online court records.
Cox is a lawyer and first-term delegate from Frederick County who advertises on his campaign website that he will “restore freedom to the Free State.” He unsuccessfully sued Gov. Larry Hogan last year in an attempt to block restrictions and closures that were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Cox has been a supporter of former President Donald Trump and organized a bus to bring people to Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, the day that the 2020 election was certified and a mob overran the U.S. Capitol, though he said his group left before the violence. He called then-Vice President Mike Pence “a traitor” on Twitter that day.
Cox made no announcement of his pick or his official filing of candidacy paperwork, and he did not respond to requests for comment. Schifanelli also did not immediately respond to voicemail and email messages.
Cox’s pick of Schifanelli was first reported by the Duckpin blog.
Two other gubernatorial tickets have filed paperwork to run: Republican Joe Werner of Baltimore County with running mate Minh Thanh Luong and unaffiliated candidate Kyle Sefcik of Montgomery County and running mate Katie Lee.
On the Republican side, state Commerce Secretary Kelly Schulz and anti-tax activist Robin Ficker have announced campaigns. Former Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele also is seriously considering a run.