Skip to main content
Election 2024 Government & Politics

Meet the state lawmakers running for Congress: Del. Mike Rogers

Del. Mike Rogers (D-Anne Arundel) and supporters at the Annapolis waterfront last week. Photo by Josh Kurtz.

Eight state legislators are running in congressional primaries in three separate districts this spring. Maryland Matters is checking in with all of them to discuss how they are balancing their legislative work with the imperative to be out on the campaign trail, along with the issues they are emphasizing in the General Assembly and on the campaign trail.

This is the first installment of our series. We’ll also have deeper looks into the congressional races and more information on other candidates as we get closer to the May 14 primaries.

Del. Mike Rogers (D-Anne Arundel) gathered a clutch of military veterans and other supporters along the Annapolis waterfront the other day in a small rally for his congressional campaign. He talked about his work in the General Assembly and his desire to do big things on Capitol Hill.

“I’m going to bring the same passion I’ve brought here and take it there,” Rogers told the dozen or so people who had assembled on the pier at Susan Campbell Park.

But the morning event was short-lived: Rogers had to leave quickly because the House Economic Matters Committee, on which he serves, had scheduled a voting session for just a few minutes later.

“I’m sorry to leave you,” he told his friends. “I don’t want my committee chair to beat me up. I’ve got to go vote.”

The scene encapsulated the challenges Rogers — and the seven other state legislators who are currently running for Congress in the May 14 primaries — face every day. They are in the midst of an intense 90-day period of lawmaking at the same time they need to be introducing themselves to voters, raising money, shoring up campaigns, and solidifying support.

“Not having done it before, it’s an interesting experience,” Rogers said in an interview. “But as I tell people, I’m built for this.”

Rogers is one of five state lawmakers who are competing in the mind-bending 22-candidate Democratic primary to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D) in the 3rd congressional district.

Compared to legislators running for open seats in the 2nd and 6th districts, candidates running in the 3rd have it relatively easy. Most of Anne Arundel County, including Annapolis, is in the 3rd, meaning it’s easy to meet potential voters without having to stray too far from the State House. The district also includes all of Howard County and a sliver of Carroll County.

Rogers, an Army veteran who turned 60 on Tuesday, said a typical week combining campaigning and his legislative work is nothing compared to the typical weeks he endured during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, when he might have traveled from Kuwait to Pakistan to Kuwait to Iraq to Germany and back to Kuwait in the space of seven days. In his three decades in the Army, where he rose to the rank of colonel, Rogers served in 32 countries on four continents.

Rogers has leaned heavily into his military experience throughout his political career, which began when he was first elected to the House in 2018, and he is targeting the votes of veterans and military families as he campaigns.

Rogers has already been endorsed by some veterans’ organizations, and his latest endorsement comes from former New York congressman Max Rose (D), a political moderate who served in the Army during the Afghanistan war.

“With all the divisive and toxic politics that have riddled our country, we need leaders like Mike,” Rose said.

On weekends, Rogers’ campaign has held large canvasses across the district with multiple volunteers, where he can linger when talking to voters and supporters, in contrast to his hasty recent news conference in Annapolis.

With so many candidates, and in a district with a strong military presence, he thinks veterans and military families may be the key to victory.

“Whoever can get their turnout out, they’re going to win,” he said.

About half of the bills Rogers has sponsored this legislative session deal in some way with those who are serving or have served in the military. These include bills that align with Gov. Wes Moore’s (D) top priorities, to help military spouses find and retain jobs and to provide tax breaks for military retirees to stay in Maryland.

One Rogers bill would limit who can see a student’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, a standardized test for potential military recruits that reveals strength and ability in science, math, and language. Another bill would require Maryland courts to keep digitalized records and discharge papers of military veterans rather than keeping paper records.

“I’m excited about the opportunity to move veterans’ legislation,” he said.

Rogers said he wound up introducing more legislation this session than he originally intended, but figures that advocacy groups asked for his help because “they know I can get bills across the finish line.”

“I think that unique skill set,” he added, “is what will turn out my vote.”


Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].

To republish, copy the following text and paste it into your HTML editor.


Creative Commons License AttributionCreative Commons Attribution
Meet the state lawmakers running for Congress: Del. Mike Rogers