A ‘Dragon’ enters Senate race
Retired Brig. Gen. John Teichert announced Monday he will seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate to replace longtime Sen. Ben Cardin (D).
The 33-year Air Force veteran, whose nickname is “Dragon” because of his early skills as a fighter pilot, said he wants to restore America’s reputation as a respected world leader.
Teichert, 52, talked with customers at Boulevard Diner in Dundalk about his military background, which includes logging more than 2,000 flight hours in 38 different aircraft. He also served in leadership positions, including as commander of Joint Base Andrews in Prince George’s County and Edward Air Force Base in California, and as a senior defense official at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
Before he retired nearly a year ago, Teichert served as assistant deputy undersecretary of the international affairs for the Air Force.
“One of the core values in the Air Force is ‘service before self’ and…the opportunity to serve [with] the principles that our country was founded upon is far greater than anything that I could do for myself,” Teichert, 52, said in a brief interview. “I believe that my background and my desire for service makes me qualified to lead, and to help lead us out of the mess that politicians have gotten us into.”
The political novice who resides in Anne Arundel County and calls himself a “collaborative conservative,” said his motto is simple: “Leadership. Not politics.”
Teichert listed priorities as “restoring order to our porous southern border, breaking the shackles of high inflation and even higher taxes, putting parents back in charge of their children’s education, [and] taking back control of our crime-ridden streets” in a campaign announcement.
“I believe that the conservative side offers the remedies to the problems we see in all four of those areas,” he said. “I may have an ‘R’ next to my name, [but] my principles and my values and my perspective on leadership is going to drag us out of the problems we see.”
Besides Teichert’s wife and three children, he also has the support of state Sen. Johnny Ray Salling (R-Baltimore County), who joined Teichert at the diner to chat with customers.
“Having the opportunity to talk with him and meet with him, it’s an opportunity for Maryland [voters] to get somebody to really represent Maryland as a public servant,” Salling said. “He understands the meaning of serving his country. Being a Christian man, I believe he has good values…and he can do great things for our community, for our state.”
Perennial candidate Robin Ficker, 80, also plans to seek the Republican nomination for Senate.
Another potential candidate is Del. Kevin Hornberger (R-Cecil County). During an interview Monday, he said he made no decision on the race and will likely not make one until the end of the year.
Both face a challenge to win a general election with the state’s heavily Democratic electorate.
Three of the top Democratic candidates are Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando and Rep. David Trone (D-6th).
After Trone voted Saturday on Capitol Hill to avoid a government shutdown, his campaign released a statement that criticized “far-right Republicans.”
“These folks simply don’t care about the damage that their political stunts cause,” Trone said. “The American people deserve leaders in both chambers of Congress who listen to American families, not deep-pocketed PACs and lobbyists who treat division like progress.”
Meanwhile, the Jawando and Alsobrooks campaigns announced recent endorsements.
Jawando announced Thursday that former County Council colleague Hans Riemer (D) supports his candidacy for Senate.
“Will found every opportunity to support our struggling working families. I know that he will help usher in a new era of progressive leadership in Washington,” Riemer said.
Alsobrooks announced two more endorsements to add to the more than 100 federal, state and local officials, community leaders and political action committees that have endorsed her campaign.
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) announced his support for Alsobrooks on Saturday and called her “a champion for the issues that matter most and that help working families as well as the most vulnerable people thrive. I can’t wait to work with her on behalf of the American people in the United States Senate.”
And on Monday, Alsobrooks’ campaign released an endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus PAC.
Warnock served as an honorary co-chair of last month’s Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 52nd annual legislation conference in Washington, D.C.
Hoping third time’s a charm
He already filed paperwork to become a candidate during the summer, but Ashwani Jain, the former Obama administration official and erstwhile candidate for governor, is putting out a video Tuesday outlining his decision to enter the 6th District Democratic congressional primary and officially kicking off his campaign.
In the 3-minute video, which features Jain walking down a suburban street talking to the camera, the 34-year-old congressional aspirant says, “There are a lot of great candidates in this race,” but outlines three reasons why voters should consider him:
- All of his campaign events are free and he does not accept contributions from political action committees
- His campaign is run entirely by volunteers
- He has workshopped an array of policy solutions developed by a cadre of volunteers, including Medicare for all, free college tuition and a $26 an hour minimum wage.
“That means you can hold me accountable because I’ve made my commitments clear,” he said.
If Jain’s name is familiar, it’s because he sought the Democratic gubernatorial nomination last year using the same themes and campaign tactics. He wound up finishing seventh with 13,784 votes, good for just over 2%.
In 2018, Jain competed in the massive Democratic primary for four at-large seats on the Montgomery County Council, impressing political professionals and more seasoned contenders with his energy and life story, as the son of immigrants and a cancer survivor. He finished eighth in a field of 32 candidates.
If Jain is elected to the open congressional seat, which U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th) is giving up to run for Senate, Jain would be the first millennial and the first Asian-American elected to Congress from Maryland. But he once again finds himself in a crowded Democratic primary, with 11 candidates and counting.
For this race, Jain has the support of the Maryland Forward Party, a new political advocacy group affiliated with 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang, dedicated to political reform.
“Ashwani represents the next generation of leaders not willing to subscribe to the entrenched rules of the two major parties,” said Brandon Barrett, Maryland Forward’s vice chair. “He’s undoubtedly a progressive candidate but shares our firm belief in a bottom-up and citizen led approach.”
Maryland Forward has already aligned with another candidate seeking the Democratic nomination in the 6th District, businessman Stephen R. McDow II.