Maryland: Democratic Primary to Face Bartlett Heats Up

Maryland state Sen. Rob Garagiola (right) makes a point at Saturday's forum in Hagerstown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With the April 3 primary only two weeks away, Maryland’s 6th district race has become one of the most heated in the country.

Democratic candidates are busy campaigning across the district — which covers western Maryland and stretches all the way to the Washington, D.C., suburbs — in hopes of challenging Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, the likely Republican nominee, in the fall.

The top two Democratic contenders, state Senate Majority Leader Rob Garagiola and businessman John Delaney, participated in a candidate forum on Saturday sponsored by the Washington County Democratic Central Committee. The event was held at the UAW Hall in Hagerstown. Garagiola and Delaney, along with the other three Democrats running, also participated in a debate Sunday in Gaithersburg to discuss issues ranging from Iran to women’s contraception.

At that event, Garagiola said he supports nonpartisan commissions “across the board” in all states to handle redistricting. He added that districts where one party overwhelmingly dominates contribute to a highly partisan atmosphere in Congress.

It is a fascinating sentiment because it is a widely held belief that Maryland’s new Congressional lines were drawn not just to take out Bartlett, but specifically with Garagiola in mind.

Redistricting was a topic of discussion at Sunday’s event, attended by many who closely follow Maryland politics. Many residents now living in the redrawn 6th district are former constituents of Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D).

“We liked voting for Chris Van Hollen,” said one woman who had yet to decide which candidate to vote for in the primary.

A local Democratic club hosted the debate in Gaithersburg. The other Democrats running are Air Force veteran Dr. Milad Pooran and attorneys Ron Little and Charles Bailey. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Democratic.

Here are some scenes from the trail Saturday, courtesy of Roll Call photog Bill Clark (@clarkshadows):

Businessman John Delaney speaks with potential voters at the UAW Hall in Hagerstown. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


Saturday's forum was sponsored by the Washington County Democratic Central Committee. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)


John Delaney (left) speaks with forum attendees outside the UAW Hall. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)