Another Twist Coming in the 6th District Congressional Race

The race for the Republican nomination in Maryland’s 6th congressional district may be in for another shake-up.

Republican sources have told Maryland Matters that one of the candidates, former Del. Mathew Mossburg, may be in line for a job as a drug policy adviser with the Hogan administration — or perhaps with Gov. Larry Hogan’s re-election campaign. Mossburg is a recovering opioid addict who has made fighting drug addiction the cornerstone of his political comeback.

Mathew Mossburg

Mossburg’s camp was silent about the rumors on Thursday. Douglass Mayer, Hogan’s communications director in the State House, did not respond to an email requesting comment. The Maryland Department of Health has had a drug policy adviser position open for several months, but it was not clear whether that’s the job Mossburg and administration officials may be discussing.

Even if Mossburg does not wind up working for Hogan, it appears that he is preparing to scale back his congressional campaign dramatically. Mossburg is expected to announce in the next few days plans to spend the three-month General Assembly session in Annapolis, pushing an agenda to confront the opioid epidemic in the state. That would take significant time away from the campaign trail.

“It’s time for me to step up,” Mossburg said in a brief interview.

Mossburg would be urging lawmakers and the administration to consider a three-pronged plan for fighting opioid addiction: medically-assisted treatment, to make certain medicines that aid in treatment and recovery more accessible; increasing the number and accessibility of detox facilities and sober living environments in the state; and government funding for research and development of non-opioid pain treatment.

Mossburg acknowledged that focusing on state policymaking from mid-January to mid-April would be a detriment to the congressional campaign, considering the primary is in late June and the 6th District, which runs from Montgomery County to the western reaches of the state, is a long way from Annapolis.

“But this is not about me,” he said. “As I have stated repeatedly during the campaign — this is not a political issue, it’s a life and death issue.”

Any diminishment of Mossburg’s campaign would be a benefit to national security policy consultant Amie Hoeber, the Republican GOP nominee in the 6th District who was already the GOP frontrunner this cycle.  With Mossburg gone from the race entirely — or campaigning on a very limited scale — Hoeber will likely not have to sweat the Republican primary, while Democrats undergo a six-way nomination fight that includes state Sen. Roger Manno, state Del. Aruna Miller, and businessman David Trone.

The 6th is the most competitive congressional district in the state, and with Rep. John Delaney (D) retiring to run for president, it is one of the very few in the nation where the Republicans hope to go on offense this cycle.

Hoeber this week weighed in on the issue of sexual harassment, which has gained so much attention in the political world and many other corners of U.S. society in recent weeks. She noted in an unpublished editorial that she has largely worked in a male-dominated world throughout her career.

“I don’t need to get into anything personal here, nor attack any particular male colleague, but I truly understand the atmospherics and actions that have been widely reported,” she wrote.

Hoeber went on to point out that the Maryland congressional delegation is, for the first time in decades, 100 percent male.

“The sexual abuse stories of the past several weeks have one common denominator whether Hollywood, business or politics: men in positions of power prey on women of limited or no power,” she said. “While a lot needs to change in terms of the culture in professions where men dominate today, one solution is clearly to ensure that we have more women in power.

“I’m not suggesting that women be promoted into positions of power as tokens – what I’m suggesting is that qualified and competent women be accorded the respect and promotion that men have and that we ensure more equality of opportunity and stature.”

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.


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