In Bartlett’s district, which now includes the western portion of Democratic-leaning Montgomery County and the Maryland panhandle, the incumbent is trying to fend off primary challenges from state Sen. David R. Brinkley (Frederick), Del. Kathy Afzali (Frederick) and a handful of other hopefuls. State Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola (Montgomery) and financier John Delaney are locked in an expensive and heated contest for the Democratic ballot line, with Air Force doctor Milad Pooran, among a group of other candidates, trying to nudge into the top tier.
Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) also faces an intraparty contest, as state Sen. C. Anthony Muse (Prince George’s) is looking to unseat him in the primary, while former Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino and ex-Defense Department official Richard Douglas have been the most active Republican candidates. Cardin is considered the favorite, both against Muse on Tuesday and against the GOP nominee in the fall.
Aside from Bartlett, the state’s other seven incumbent U.S. House members are all expected to keep their seats in November.
Over the weekend, Delaney and Garagiola crisscrossed Maryland’s 6th Congressional District, seeking to drive home the same messages they had for months. Delaney portrayed himself as a reform-oriented newcomer who has drawn the backing of former president Bill Clinton. Garagiola emphasized his record in Annapolis and support from local unions and progressive groups.
On Saturday, Garagiola spent the afternoon knocking on townhouse doors in the Waters Landing community in Germantown. Although anger toward office-holders may be strong nationally this year, Garagiola said residents — particularly Democratic primary voters — in this district were different, since so many of them work for or are dependent on the federal government for their livelihoods.
“They understand what goes on [in government], and I think many are happy with the direction the state’s going,” Garagiola said. “We’ve done some good things since I’ve been in office. How can you argue with having the best schools in the country four years in a row?”
Doug Rowland, 39, a federal government employee, said he was “definitely interested” in voting for Garagiola because he supports “a progressive tax code and investment in education.” Delaney’s platform was also attractive, Rowland said, “but he doesn’t have the background and experience we’re looking for.”