Matthew Fogg speaking at a 4th Congressional District candidates forum. (Mark Gail/For The Washington Post)

This is the third in a series of profiles of the six candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to represent Maryland’s 4th Congressional District.

Matthew Fogg took on the federal government nearly 20 years ago and won.

As a deputy U.S. marshal, Fogg alleged that he and other black officers had endured harassment, been passed over for promotions and received less desirable assignments tied to their duties of tracking and apprehending fugitives.

All of it amounted to racial discrimination, a federal jury in Washington found in 1998. What followed were years of appeals, complaints and, for Fogg, a run on the cable news and speaking circuit denouncing structural racism and pushing criminal-justice reform.

Now, the retired law enforcement officer turned community activist is determined to take his experience to Capitol Hill.

He is one of six Democrats vying for the party nomination to replace outgoing Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D) in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District.

“I’m a candidate who has challenged the government,” said Fogg, 64, who lives in Clinton and also has a home in Suitland. “I could be a strong voice in making certain that things are done in an equal and just manner.”

For years, Fogg has been testifying at colleges, conferences and in Annapolis on criminal-justice issues, working with organizations such as Amnesty International and the NAACP to draw attention to the racial dynamics of U.S. drug enforcement policies.

This is Fogg’s third run for elected office in Maryland. In 2014, he ran for state delegate in the 25th Legislative District in Prince George’s County, finishing last in the primary. Fogg then became a write-in candidate for the state Senate in the general election, where he garnered 524 votes.


Fogg knows his chances in the April 26 primary are remote, given a Democratic field that includes a former Maryland lieutenant governor, Prince George’s former top prosecutor and a sitting state delegate. (Several Republicans also are running in the overwhelmingly Democratic district, which is based in Prince George’s and stretches into Anne Arundel County.)

But as a longtime Prince George’s resident, he is frustrated by his county’s seeming inability to emerge from what he calls the “ills list.”

Prince George’s has the highest crime rate, the lowest-­performing schools and the poorest health outcomes of any suburban community in the region. Those social indicators point to a low quality of life, Fogg said, and spur him to action.

“We keep electing people into office, and our community is still going down a slippery slope,” he said.

Fogg, who obtained his bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in West Virginia, provided few specifics on how he would try to make an impact in Congress.

At public events he often speaks in generalities, sometimes echoing the policy positions of other candidates.

But he comes alive when the conversation turns to law enforcement practices. He recently testified in Annapolis about policing reforms that would equip officers with body cameras and provide more legal protections to whistleblowers.

Fogg has not reported any campaign contributions, according to the most recent federal election filings. He only just launched a campaign website. But he says he presents an alternative for voters who may be tired of seasoned politicians.

“It’s never too late,” he said.

Next: Former state’s attorney Glenn Ivey.