“I think it’s fair to say Garagiola started with an advantage in this race, but the question is whether Delaney’s spending can close the gap,” said David Wasserman, House editor for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.
With Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) playing a key role in its drafting, the reshaped district just so happens to include Garagiola’s Germantown home while excluding those of some other prominent Montgomery County Democrats who might have wanted to run.
That includes Delaney, whose Potomac home sits just outside of the new 6th District, which includes Western Montgomery and the more rural Maryland panhandle. Delaney, the founder of the Chevy Chase commercial bank CapitalSource, decided to run anyway — candidates are not required by law to reside in the district — and has brought his considerable wealth and Democratic connections to bear on the race.
Three other Democrats are running, including Air Force physician Milad Pooran, but Garagiola and Delaney are widely considered the front-runners.
Delaney’s campaign has been touting recent endorsements, including from former president Bill Clinton and state Comptroller Peter Franchot. Delaney is on the air with television and radio ads emphasizing the Clinton nod, with more to come in the closing days of the race.
“This race is neck and neck, and we’ve seen the momentum shift in the last 10 days to John Delaney,” said Justin Schall, Delaney’s campaign manager. “We are going to continue to build on that momentum every day between now and Election Day.”
Delaney’s campaign will report soon to the Federal Election Commission that it has raised more than $700,000 since the beginning of January, and that does not include what Delaney — who is worth upward of $50 million — has put into the race. He has said he is willing to spend more than $1 million of his own money to win the primary.
Garagiola, whose campaign would not provide its latest fundraising totals, has not run any ads in the race, focusing on direct mail and grass-roots support instead.
“The Garagiola campaign has been implementing its strategic plan for months, building the support of member-driven Democratic and progressive groups that are absolutely critical to win a Democratic primary,” said Garagiola campaign manager Sean Rankin, adding: “So let Delaney buy his TV ads and waste his money. Even my little boys, 6 and 8, know you can’t buy real friends; you have to earn them.”
Garagiola has a clear advantage in winning support from elected officials in Maryland, boasting the endorsements of more than two dozen members of the General Assembly, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Rep. Steny H. Hoyer. (Democratic insiders said Garagiola’s allies have urged Reps. Chris Van Hollen and John P. Sarbanes to join Hoyer in endorsing Garagiola, but they chose to stay neutral.)