GOP Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has said he is running for re-election, but retirement buzz has kept potential GOP challengers exploring possible runs.
Garagiola, a Montgomery County attorney, has served in the state Senate for nearly nine years, rising through the ranks to the office of state Senate Majority Leader. Prior to his election to the state Senate, he served as an Army reservist.
At this point, it does not appear likely that other top-tier Democrats will join the race for a seat that looks to be a top pickup opportunity for the party. Several well-known Montgomery County Democrats have already passed on the race.
Montgomery County businessman John Delaney has formed an exploratory committee and is expected to make a formal announcement on his intentions any day now. Former Montgomery County Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg is also running.
Garagiola is by far the most organized candidate in the race. He has made numerous trips to campaign in Western Maryland.
But some Democrats are still frustrated by the outcome of redistricting, and it remains to be seen whether Delaney can emerge as a viable Garagiola alternative.
A Democrat aligned with Delaney said that as Delaney has traveled the district, he has heard “grievances that the district was drawn for a certain individual, and there is displeasure.” That sentiment echoed what other political operatives in the district have said, although not on the record.
“That certainly is great political theater, but the reality is far less interesting,” Garagiola campaign manager Sean Rankin said. He cited “demographic changes” as the source that necessitated the changes in the lines.
“Now we have a new, very competitive district as demonstrated by multiple Democrats in a primary, not to mention a lot of newfound interest on the Republican side,” Rankin said.
The consensus among party strategists on both sides is that Democrats are favored to win the race, but it remains winnable for Republicans in the right environment and with the right candidate.
“In our eyes, the seat is still competitive,” Maryland Republican Party political director Matt Proud said. Republicans are “dead-set on winning it,” he added.
Roll Call rates the 6th district race as Leans Democratic.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.