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Election 2022 Government & Politics

News about congressional races across the state

Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery). File photo courtesy of Vogel’s office.

There have been multiple developments in Maryland’s congressional races over the past few days, so let’s get to them:

In the crowded open 6th District race, where every single vote might make a difference, Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery) on Tuesday announced that he has been endorsed by the Sierra Club.

“Joe Vogel has been a partner in the work to combat the climate crisis and that’s why the Sierra Club is proud to endorse him for Congress,” Rich Norling, political chair of the Sierra Club Maryland chapter, said in a statement. “We need to elect leaders who don’t just know what’s at stake, but also take action to get things done. We trust Joe to be a strong partner and voice for the environment in Congress because he has consistently shown up and advocated for environmental policies that move our state forward on climate. In Congress, we know he’ll do just the same.”

Vogel said he was “honored” by the Sierra Club endorsement. “They are relentless in the fight against the climate crisis and I can’t wait to continue working with them as a member of Congress.”

Among the 15 Democrats competing to replace U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th), who is giving up his seat to run for the Senate, Vogel and former U.S. Commerce Department official April McClain Delaney have racked up the most endorsements so far.

In recent days, Vogel has picked up endorsements from the College Democrats of America and from two locals of the Amalgamated Transit Union, ATU Local 689, based in Washington, D.C., and ATU Local 1777, based in Olney. Last week, he rolled out the endorsement of a former boss, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Vogel worked on Booker’s short-lived 2020 presidential campaign.

Joe Vogel is part of a new generation of leaders bringing fresh energy into the hard work of building coalitions and uniting people to take on the big challenges we face,” Booker said. “I know from working with Joe on my presidential campaign in 2019 that he brings an indomitable joy and an unyielding work ethic into everything he does.”

Vogel called Booker “the embodiment of what it means to be a public servant.”

But another former boss of Vogel’s, former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — Vogel was an intern in her office — has opted to back Delaney, whose husband, former Rep. John Delaney, served with Pelosi in Congress. Pelosi called April Delaney “a dear friend” who would make “an exceptional member of Congress.”

“April McClain Delaney has more than 30 years of experience advocating for children’s health, wellbeing and education in the non-profit, private and public sectors,” Pelosi said in a statement. “I first met April in 2007 and witnessed firsthand her unique ability to cut through the noise and advance children’s issues on the Hill. A mother of four, April leads with empathy and is a trusted advocate for a woman’s right to choose and the kitchen table needs of working families.”

Delaney called Pelosi “one of the greatest leaders in our nation’s history.”

Delaney last week also picked up another significant endorsement: Joel Rubin, the former Chevy Chase town councilmember who had also been seeking the 6th District seat, dropped out of the race and endorsed her. Rubin, a foreign policy expert who worked in the Obama administration, had a definite niche in the race but was not able to break out in such a crowded field.

“Our Congressional delegation needs a voice like hers — one that stands up to hate and antisemitism, that advances a smart national security policy, and that advocates tirelessly for women,” Rubin wrote in an email to supporters. “And with zero women currently representing Maryland in Congress — a travesty! — let’s make sure that April gets to Congress to provide that voice.”

Meanwhile, another Democrat in the race, Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez, released a provocative 2-minute video this week to coincide with March being Women’s History Month. The video features a speech Martinez made at a recent women’s conference in Frederick — her campaign calls it a spoken word performance — that is part rap and part preaching.

“I’ve been shaken, beaten, broken, and persecuted with word curses, gossip, and lies, but fruit draws flies,” she says in the video, which is interspersed with pictures of women’s marches across the globe, recounting how she overcame past traumas.

“No more control, no more holds,” Martinez says later in the ad. “The system’s been dismantled with love.” Through the video, she repeatedly asks, “Am I my sister’s keeper?” Members of the audience yell, “Absolutely!”

The video will only be seen on digital platforms, rather than on TV, for now.

Speaking of District 6 endorsements, Mariela Roca, an Air Force veteran and medical logistics specialist, who is among the six Republicans seeking the seat, won the endorsement of another former U.S. House speaker this week, Newt Gingrich.

“I met her several months ago and was immediately impressed with her authenticity, attitude, and achievements,” Gingrich said. “Mariela is a strong conservative, an Air Force veteran, and a devoted mother. She is running for Congress to bring down costs for families, secure our border, and fight to protect our unalienable, God-given rights.”

Roca is competing in the GOP primary against former Del. Neil C. Parrott, the two-time Republican nominee against Trone, and former Del. Dan Cox, the GOP nominee for governor in 2022, among others.

And speaking of endorsements in Republican congressional primaries in Maryland, former Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford (R) last week endorsed Chris Bruneau, a military veteran and building contractor who is waging a longshot bid against U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R-1st).

In a statement, Rutherford praised many of Bruneau’s attributes, including his pledge to serve only three terms in Congress. Harris is seeking an eighth term this year.

Chris has been a successful small business owner for almost 20 years,” Rutherford said. “His mission as an insurance restoration contractor is restoring damaged homes so their occupants can reclaim their lives. He now wants to help Americans reclaim their faith in government and in our political system.”

Last but not least, Harry Dunn, the former U.S. Capitol Police officer who battled insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021, became the first candidate in the 3rd District race to go on the air this week. Dunn is one of 22 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to replace U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D), who is retiring at the end of this congressional term.

The 30-second TV spot reinforces Dunn’s oft-repeated message about the importance of preserving democracy. It shows footage of the Capitol and of Dunn at one point walking up the Capitol steps.

“Democracy isn’t about the people who work here,” Dunn says at the top of the ad. “It’s about all of those who don’t.

“I’m Harry Dunn and I was born into a military family and raised in Maryland. After playing college football, I joined the Capitol Police. For 15 years, I protected the promise that every one of us, no matter who we are, has a voice in our government.

“I approve this message because on this day, I didn’t fight against them, I fought for all of us.”

The TV spot, according to The Baltimore Banner, which broke the news about the ad buy Tuesday, will be airing on broadcast and cable TV and on digital platforms. The campaign said it has made a “significant six-figure buy,” but didn’t offer any other details.

What’s missing in the ad is any reference to or footage of the 3rd District.


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News about congressional races across the state