Anita M. Cox (left) and Raul Ayala Credit: Submitted photos

A Derwood resident and member of the county’s Charter Review Commission will run for the state Senate District 19 seat after the winner of the Republican primary decided not to run in November.

Raul Ayala of Rockville beat Anita M. Cox, of Derwood by 28 votes in the July 19 Republican primary, according to certified results. Just over 2,600 ballots were cast in that race.

But Ayala declined the nomination for “personal reasons,” and the county’s Republican Central Committee earlier this month chose Cox to run for the seat in Nov. 8 general election.

District 19 includes parts of Kemp Mill, Aspen Hill, Redland and Derwood. Sen. Ben Kramer, a Democrat, has served the district since 2019 and is running for re-election. David George Jeang, a Green Party candidate, is also running for the seat. 

Ayala declined to comment Tuesday on what “personal reasons” caused him to reject the nomination. But he added he will support Cox in the general election. 

Cox — not related to Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox — said Tuesday that she understands the odds of unseating an incumbent in a county where Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 4 to 1.


“I think it’s a tall order, but I’m up to it, I’m not daunted by it … people are going to look at [Kramer’s] solutions versus mine … and see that we will be able to offer a difference,” Cox said.

Some of her solutions include proposing more options for school choice throughout the county, she said. But she also wants to address rising crime, she said, noting that her Chrysler Pacifica was stolen outside her Derwood home on Aug. 13. It has not been recovered, she added.

When knocking on doors throughout the district during the primary , she said she’s heard from residents who are concerned about the increase in cost of living and the quality of schools. Overall, she wants to run a “kitchen table issues” campaign, she said.