ANNAPOLIS, MD — Eyes and ears are on the presidency, but Maryland has a swath of congressional elections this year. All eight of Maryland's members in the U.S. House of Representatives are running for another term. No race is certain, but a few contests stick out.
District 7 draws the most attention. The seat opened last October when Rep. Elijah Cummings passed away. A social justice leader filled the vacancy after an April special election. Can he hold onto the position with only a few months under his belt?
Maryland's most-tenured representative battles a former police officer in District 5. Do voters prefer experience or fresh ideas?
Districts 2 and 6 pit state senators against current congressmen. Do the state officials have enough name recognition to unseat the incumbents?
Each race has a unique narrative, but Marylanders can only vote in one election. Enter your ZIP code at this link to see which race you can vote in. Then, check the listings below to get to know your candidates.
Mayland's only congressional Republican, Andy Harris, took office in 2011. Harris' main goal is to help businesses recover from coronavirus while also pushing through a vaccine. He warns Congress, however, that heavy spending will have long-term effects.
"We have to remember that Congress spends hard-earned taxpayer dollars, not their own," said Harris, who has been in office since 2011. "We are so far in debt that we are really spending our grandchildren's money at this point. We have to restrain federal spending when COVID is over."
While Harris wants to expand health care without creating a nationwide mandate, his challenger, Mia Mason (D), advocates for "Medicare for All." Mason also wants to see more equitable policy out of the 1st District.
"My opponent voted against our communities in every way," Mason, a 20-year military veteran and transgender woman, said. "He's voted against LGBT rights, women's rights, our veterans, our health care and our environment."
C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III (D) been in office since 2002. While Ruppersberger is an environmentalist, his top priorities are improving health care for aging Americans and revamping social security.
"Ruppersberger believes seniors need a guaranteed, monthly payment," the representative's campaign website says. "Thousands of seniors depend on social security to pay their rent or mortgage, buy groceries, or pay their power bill."
Army veteran Johnny Ray Salling (R) puts some pressure on Ruppersberger. Salling has name recognition as a current state senator for the 6th District. His main call is to cut regulations to relieve an aching economy.
"[Salling] was born and raised in a hard-working, blue collar family in Baltimore," the candidate's webpage writes. "[He] understands the hard work and determination it takes for small businesses to be successful in Maryland."
Incumbent John P. Sarbanes (D) has focused on campaign finance reform since he took office in 2007. He wants Congress to match small donor contributions to political campaigns. Sarbanes hopes this will discourage reliance on and preferential treatment for the wealthiest Americans.
"When Congress debates the critical issues, too often it’s the Big Money crowd that calls the shots," Sarbanes asserts on his campaign website. "We need a return to government of, by and for the people."
Army veteran Charles Anthony (R) challenges Sarbanes. With experience at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Anthony is concerned about the nation's health care. He is impressed with its quality, but prices are too high for Anthony's liking.
"America's health care delivery system is a mess and is too expensive, but our health care is second to none," Anthony states on his website. "We want to make sure that we have the best healthcare in the world, but that it is also affordable."
Anthony G. Brown (D) was sworn into Congress in 2017 after serving as Maryland's second-in-command under former Gov. Martin O'Malley. The Harvard graduate and Iraq veteran is concerned about national security.
"We live in a complex and interconnected world that presents new challenges," Brown writes on his webpage, noting that he values diplomacy. "From cyber defense to Iranian pursuit of a nuclear weapon, to a newly aggressive Russia, emerging China, and Africa on the move, we must remain united."
Brown's opposition, George McDermott (R), bills himself as a political outsider. McDermott professes that politicians are too tied to their partisan antics and wealthy contributors. He hopes to break this trend if elected.
"Our nations legal system has been hijacked by big money polluting every campaign," McDermott said. "The truth no longer matters. Our citizens are deprived of their right to equal justice under the law and equal representation as our founding fathers had intended."
Steny H. Hoyer (D) was first elected in 1981. His 39 years as a U.S. representative are a Maryland record. Hoyer is currently focused on criminal justice reform, paying close attention to prison re-entry and humane treatment of inmates.
"More must be done to address the persistent disparities that minority communities face," Hoyer declares on his website.
Chris Palombi (R) hopes to return to Capitol Hill, but not in the way you may think. Palombi spent five years as a U.S. Capitol police officer. He used to protect lawmakers, but now he wants to protect the economy with a laissez-faire government.
"When companies compete, without government picking winners and losers, the consumers and economy win," Palombi says on his campaign site, noting that he also coaches hockey.
David Trone (D) is one of Maryland's newest congressional representatives. After he was elected in 2018, he immediately formed a coalition to fight the opioid epidemic.
"COVID-19 has only made this problem worse," Trone said. "Ending this crisis is why I ran for Congress, and it continues to be my top priority."
Neil C. Parrott (R), the state senator for District 2A, challenges Trone. In a time of unrest, Parrott wants to hold guilty officers accountable while also supporting police.
"We need to help police to do their job and do it well, not make them afraid to even walk out of the Police Headquarters without fearing for their possessions," the state official said. "We need to support them, and we need to support law and order."
Kweisi Mfume (D) has made a name for himself as the representative to take over for Cummings. Mfume previously held the District 7 seat from 1987 until 1996, when he left Congress to lead the NAACP as president and CEO.
"He followed his dreams to impact society and to help shape public policy," Mfume's campaign website says, adding that his current priorities are to help medical professionals and small businesses. "He significantly raised the national profile of the NAACP."
Mfume faces a familiar rival: Kim Klacik (R). The duo squared off in the April special election that returned Mfume to Congress. Since then, however, President Donald Trump endorsed Klacik. Now, the former Republican strategist is gaining interest with her plan to revitalize Baltimore's port.
"The 7th District is positioned to help Baltimore reclaim its status as a manufacturing powerhouse," Klacik writes on her web page. "It just needs someone with the enthusiasm, energy and passion to tap its potential."
Jamin B. "Jamie" Raskin (D) took office in 2017. Raskin is a former state senator, law professor and author. He is committed to fighting climate change by investing in renewable energy and public transportation.
"Climate change isn't just an issue," Raskin says on his campaign website. "It's the entire context within which we must make our public policy decisions."
Aerospace engineer Gregory Coll (R) challenges Raskin. Coll is dedicated to kickstarting the economy in areas where coronavirus poses less of a risk. It's time to stop pointing fingers and get to work, he says.
"This is the United States of America and we need to work together and unite in times of hardship," Coll said. "When the representation starts to fail people like me, hardworking, honest, unbiased people start to take action."
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