Dan Cox, the right-winger who lost the Maryland governor’s race last year, is telling the press that he doesn’t know who was behind it statement of candidacy on 3 July in his name. He even said he warned the Federal Election Commission with the subject.
A brief investigation should be conducted: The person who hired Cox to do this was the treasurer.
The Daily Beast has obtained emails and text messages that show Cox has been planning a congressional bid since at least mid-June. He would have quickly recovered from the trouncing he received in 2022 from now Gov. Wes Moore, and was given the attention and controversy Cox’s candidacy drew him to that race, a follow-up House bid would raise eyebrows across the state.
But it looks like Cox, at least for now, is embracing that opportunity, even if he’s not aware of it.
The emails, exchanged last month between Cox adviser Rory McShane and professional political accountant Tom Datwyler, show that McShane took several steps on Cox’s behalf to set up a campaign committee. At one point, McShane gave the green light to WinRed’s official “Dan Cox for Congress” online fundraising ad, which, as of this report, was still alive.
The two men also agreed on when Datwyler should file the statement of candidacy and open the campaign. In a June 14 email, Datwyler told McShane that if the statement was submitted before July 1, a full quarterly report covering April to June 30 would also be required.
“To avoid that we can raise $ starting now until the end of the quarter, but holding back on deposit until 10 days before the end of the quarter,” Datwyler wrote in the email.
“Perfect,” replied McShane, “we don’t want to file Q2. So get the WinRed up and we’ll start raising but not filing until July 1st.”
When Datywler sent the WinRed link the next day, McShane asked him to “turn off” the logo on the landing page with an updated design, which McShane attached to the email. (Cox did not raise any money, according to a person familiar with the matter.)
But when reporters contacted Cox after the recent FEC filing appeared, the election denial expressed disbelief.
Cox said Maryland affairs on July 3 that he did not know the story behind the filing, but claimed that he had not ruled out a 2024 congressional run.
“We haven’t made a decision,” Cox said Maryland affairs on July 3, adding, “I want to know who did this.”
A text message from McShane to Datwyler the next morning reveals that not only had Cox apparently already made up his mind—no passed – but Datwyler was unaware of the change of plans. A source familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast that McShane failed to inform Datwyler of the decision before the treasurer submitted the statement of candidacy. Datwyler only received that information on July 4, after Cox had already denied the filing to reporters.
“Hey Tom – We need you to end Dan Cox’s committee, he has decided not to run,” McShane wrote in the Independence Day message.
“Yes,” replied Datwyler.
But Cox was casting aspersions on the filing as late as July 7, when The Frederick Post-News Cox reported that “it had been reported to the FEC.”
None of the three men are strangers to political controversy.
Cox’s 2022 bid drew national attention, especially in the primary, when his candidacy received help from an unexpected place.
Democratic groups, seeing an opportunity to reclaim the Governor’s Mansion from retiring GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, with Cox in the primary against moderate Kelly Schulz. It was part of a national Democratic strategy to seed elections with divisive, far-right Republicans who could turn off swing voters.
(Pennsylvania GOP candidate Doug Mastriano – who was also in attendance on January 6 – failed in another success story for Democrats. Mastriano lost the general election to Democrat Josh Shapiro, and hired Cox as chief of staff for his office in the state senate earlier this year.)
McShane’s company, McShane LLC, also has ties to efforts to overturn the 2020 election. In 2021, a former undercover political operative in Nevada tipped official McShane on a plan to bring Proud Boys to pressure the ballot counters in that state, The Daily Beast reported. The company’s clients also include Arizona election denying GOP Representatives Paul Gosar and Andy Biggs.
Datwyler, for his part, runs a political accounting company that keeps the books for dozens of federal political campaigns and committees. Almost 250 listed as active this year, and the roster has its fair share of election deniers. (Axiom Strategies Jeff Roe, a longtime Republican operative bought 9Seven last year.)
The Daily Beast sent a request for comment to McShane and Cox, but did not receive a response. A representative for Datwyler declined to comment.