Garagiola was the early favorite in the contest, with the backing of much of the state Democratic establishment behind him and district lines drawn to be favorable to him.
But Delaney, the founder of the Chevy Chase commercial lending firm CapitalSource, has outspent Garagiola by a wide margin, both by raising more campaign cash and by putting in at least $1.4 million from his own pocket. Having flooded the district with mail and advertising, Delaney released two internal polls last week showing him with a wide lead over Garagiola.
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Garagiola’s camp is skeptical of those numbers, particularly given that such groups as the League of Conservation Voters and all the major unions are backing him and putting grass-roots resources into getting the vote out Tuesday.
“Our local union has said really good things about him, and he was the recommended vote,” said Melanie Jackson, 30, an elementary school music teacher who lives in Waters Landing. “I pretty much listen to our union.”
As he greeted commuters at the Frederick MARC station Friday afternoon, Delaney said he’s often been asked, “Are you currently a politician?” He sees the frequency of that question as reflecting poorly on Garagiola’s chances Tuesday and on Bartlett’s chances in November.
Bishop Smith, who lives in Frederick and works at Wal-Mart, said that he had yet to decide his vote but that “it will probably be for Delaney.” Smith said Delaney seemed “trustworthy” and committed to “work for the middle class.”
Pooran, who also stopped at the Frederick MARC station Friday, predicted a low turnout because of the negative tenor of the race, mainly between Garagiola and Delaney.
“People are very frustrated by that,” Pooran said. “They thought, ‘This is finally our chance to have a Democratic candidate that we can be proud of, and all we’re getting is two guys that are going after each other.’ ”
On the Republican side, Brinkley went on the air with an ad last week asking whether the country is better off now than when Bartlett took office 20 years ago, and his campaign said Saturday that the race was a “virtual dead heat” between him and Bartlett. But Bartlett appears to be in strong position to hold on Tuesday, as Brinkley, Afzali and five other challengers are likely to divvy up the anti-incumbent vote.