Maryland represents the second-best pickup opportunity for Democrats on the gubernatorial map. Without term-limited Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, a frequent Trump critic who is eyeing a 2024 bid of his own, this race started as the most likely one on the map to flip from red to blue. But after Massachusetts GOP Gov. Charlie Baker decided to retire instead of face a Trump-backed primary challenger, that contest became the most likely seat to change parties.

This open seat race’s July 19 primary has similar dynamics not just to Massachusetts but other gubernatorial contests this cycle — former President Trump endorsing the weaker Republican candidate as the more moderate type candidate, who could potentially win in a blue state, struggling to win the nomination.

The Republican primary

The GOP race is a proxy fight between the Trump-backed state Del. Dan Cox, one of the most far-right legislators in Annapolis, and former state Commerce and Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz, who has Hogan’s endorsement. While Schulz leads in fundraising and expenditures, that hasn’t kept Cox from catching her in polling. And

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