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April McClain Delaney launches campaign for 6th District

April McClain Delaney has entered the 6th District Democratic primary. Campaign photo.

April McClain Delaney, a Democratic attorney and philanthropist, launched a bid for Congress on Wednesday, weeks after leaving a top post at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

McClain Delaney, 58, joins a crowded race for the open seat in the 6th District, which her husband, John Delaney (D), represented from 2013 to 2019.

In announcing her campaign, McClain Delaney focused on a message of finding common ground and common sense solutions.

“We’re facing tough challenges — the high cost of living, the impact of AI and technology on work and families, and the need to protect reproductive freedom and to act on climate. It’s time to rebuild trust in government and use common sense to find common ground and make some progress,” she said in a statement. “The U.S. House is in total meltdown because of a handful of extremists, and the people who pay the price for this lunacy are the folks across the 6th District. I believe we can build a coalition of the willing so together we can get things done and make meaningful changes for our families and communities.”

The open-seat 6th District race is expected to be the most competitive in Maryland in 2024 and one of the most competitive in the country.

Fourteen other candidates have opened accounts for the race with the Federal Elections Commission: 8 Democrats and 6 Republicans.

Five other candidates — three Democrats, a Republican and an unaffiliated voter — have filed paperwork with the Maryland State Board of Elections seeking to be on the ballot for the May 2024 primary.

Still others are being encouraged to consider running before the February candidate filing deadline.

McClain Delaney has not begun raising campaign funds because she was, until recently, subject to Hatch Act restrictions on federal employees’ political activities.

She stepped down from her position as deputy assistant secretary of communications at the Department of Commerce late last month. McClain Delaney also served as deputy administrator of the National Telecommunications Information Administration, the agency that serves as the principal adviser to the president on communications and tech matters.

Collectively, the Delaneys are worth several million dollars, and that could become a factor in the race if McClain Delaney chooses to self-fund a campaign.

Before joining the Biden administration, McClain Delaney founded the Washington office of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit focused on online safety and addressing the impact of media on kids’ health and well-being. Prior to that she was assistant general counsel and regulatory affairs director at Orion Network Systems in Rockville and was one of the founding board members of the International Satellite Association.

McClain Delaney and John Delaney are parents to four daughters and live in Potomac, which is part of the 8th Congressional District.

McClain Delaney plans to campaign across Western Maryland, her campaign said, meeting with community leaders and friends.

“I know this district, I love this district, and I know the folks from Cumberland to Frederick to Gaithersburg want things done that will make their lives better and that will protect and strengthen our democracy.  That’s just common sense,” she said in a statement.

The 2024 primary election is scheduled for May 14.

Democrats in the race are Gaithersburg physician Geoffrey Grammer, 2022 gubernatorial candidate Ashwani Jain, Del. Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery), Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez, military veteran Mia Mason, Frederick County businessman Stephen McDow, former State Department official Joel Rubin, Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles, Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery), former federal program manager Destiny Drake West, and frequent candidate George Gluck.

Republican candidates are Woodsboro Burgess Heath Barnes, retired police officer Chris Hyser, former Del. Neil Parrott (R-Washington), grocery store clerk Todd Puglisi, Air Force veteran Mariela Roca, Navy veteran Tom Royals, and former state Del. Brenda J. Thiam.

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April McClain Delaney launches campaign for 6th District