Maryland Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox, a close ally and supporter of Donald Trump, will get a financial boost from the former president next month with a fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, according to an event invitation viewed by The Baltimore Sun.
The private cocktail reception on Oct. 17 will cost donors $1,776 per person to enter and $25,000 for a single photo with Trump and Cox, according to the invite.
The fundraiser is scheduled 10 days before in-person early voting begins in Maryland and three weeks before Election Day, when Cox and Democrat Wes Moore will face off to succeed outgoing two-term Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Cox, a longtime Trump supporter, helped promote the former president’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election and attended the Jan. 6, 2021 rally outside the White House — though Cox has said he did not participate in the violence at the Capitol. Trump’s support in Cox’s primary, motivated partly by his long-standing feud with Hogan, helped Cox defeat the incumbent governor’s preferred candidate, Kelly Schulz.
Those ties are widely expected to make Cox’s chances of success with the larger Maryland electorate — in which Democrats outnumber Republicans roughly 2 to 1 — difficult. Cox has, at times, attempted to moderate his campaign messages since the primary, but has stood by Trump, such as openly supporting him after the FBI recovered classified documents at Trump’s residence, and in attending a campaign rally for another candidate Trump headlined this month in Pennsylvania.
There have been no signs that Trump would hold a similar rally for Cox or other Republican nominees in Maryland this fall, and the October fundraiser is the first indication Trump is helping Cox financially in the general election.
Moore, a first-time candidate who has become a robust fundraiser, had more than 10 times the amount Cox had in the bank as of late August, their most recent campaign finance reports showed.
The invite, which notes that it was funded by Cox’s campaign, said the event will be “in special honor of the 46th birthday of Valerie Cox,” the candidate’s wife. Cocktail attire is required, it reads.
While the invite does not mention Trump’s fundraising entities, some of the money raised could be directed to them. Though the invite indicates a required $25,000 donation for a photo, the maximum amount a donor can give a candidate in Maryland under state law is $6,000.
Cox’s campaign did not return requests for comment about the event.
Moore spokesman Carter Elliott, in a statement responding to the news of the fundraiser, said: “Election deniers stick together, and now Dan Cox is going all the way down to Florida with less than 50 days left in the election to kiss the ring.”