GAITHERSBURG, Md. (DC News Now) — Democrat Wes Moore and Republican Dan Cox on Monday pushed for votes, using Labor Day parades and events to promote their Maryland gubernatorial candidacies that traditionally start the campaign season.

Both Moore and Cox had their own contingents marching with them in the Labor Day parade in Gaithersburg. Cox, of Frederick, was a few paces ahead of Moore, of Baltimore, and had no interactions with him – but was ironically wearing the same colored shirts (blue) and shorts (grey).

Moore, the businessman and combat veteran turned best-selling author, said in an interview with DC New Now before the parade that he has an inclusive agenda for Maryland that will improve education, tackle crime and combat climate change and secure better housing.

“People are ready, ready for our state to move fast, ready for us to be bold, to grow and grow inclusively,” Moore said. “We’re feeling really good with the message of our leave nobody behind agenda.”

While the two combatants have agreed to one debate on Oct. 12 on Maryland Public Television, Cox has been pushing for additional ones while Moore has been reticent to engage.

“I’m excited to get out and actually talk to Marylanders,” he said. “I’m not interested in having debates about whether or not Jan. 6th was an insurrection or not. What I’m excited about is actually talking to the things that Marylanders care about and really hear and both share about the direction that we want to take our state.”

Moore has the winds at his back in terms of his fundraising haul, bringing in this summer $1.8 million to Cox’s $195,000.

But Cox, the state delegate who has been all in with former President Donald Trump as his patron saint, downplayed the financial gap.

“We’re excited. At the end of the day, it’s not the money that wins, it’s the votes,” Cox told DC News Now. “So we’re out here among the people looking forward to freedom. Everyone wants their freedom back, they want to make sure we have the best education in the world, world-class education.”

Cox said he wants to lower “our inflationary taxation problem” where the public feels at the pump and through inflated housing prices.

As for the lack of debates, Cox said, “I’m very disappointed.” He referenced an expected debate at Morgan State University, a historically Black university, that hasn’t been confirmed.

“I’ve challenged my opponent to show up, he will not,” Cox added.

Cox said “that would be great” to have Trump come campaign for him, but said he didn’t know if the former, controversial president would. Cox has received criticism for backing Trump’s claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him.

Meanwhile, both candidates were able to connect with voters at the parade.

Myla Ruiz of Gaithersburg said her vote for Moore is a no-brainer. She’s deeply concerned about Cox’s alignment with Trump.

“I think that he represents the values of this state and this area and I hope he wins,” she said of Moore.

June Nicholas of Rockville said while she knows the GOP is fractured over Cox, she’s all in for his candidacy.

“I like that he’s conservative and I’d like to see a conservative tradition be re-established here in Maryland,” she said.