Several closely-watched US House primaries in Maryland are loaded with candidates

Three open Maryland congressional seats have led to a flood of candidates in a trio of districts, providing dozens of choices for voters in the May 14 primary.

The sprawling 6th District, which stretches from part of Montgomery County, through the Frederick area to the westernmost counties of the state, is the most complex piece of congressional real estate in Maryland.

While Democrats have an edge in number of registered voters, the district has become more favorable for Republicans in recent years, due to redistricting that went into effect in 2022.

Democratic Rep. David Trone was reelected that year, but he’s decided to run for the U.S. Senate seat of retiring Sen. Ben Cardin.

Sixteen Democrats initially jumped into the primary, though the number has now been pared back to a dozen.

There are also six Republicans seeking the GOP nomination, including a former candidate for governor.

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While the fields are large and include lots of newcomers, there are some familiar names as well.

The leading fundraiser among Democrats shares the name of the former 6th District incumbent.

April McClain Delaney is a former deputy assistant secretary for the U.S. Commerce Department, who is married to former Rep. John Delaney, who held the seat for three terms.

She has poured more than a half-million dollars into her campaign and received heavy-hitting endorsements from the likes of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who calls her a “principled, common sense leader.”

Delaney has stressed her work over the years to support online safety for children and extend broadband internet services to rural areas.

Like many of the Democrats in the race, she supports abortion rights.

She also has a strong base of support in Montgomery County, which still packs a political punch in the district, even though it has been diluted by the court ruling that led to redistricting.

While she has plenty of opponents, state Del. Joe Vogel, of Montgomery County, has emerged as one of her chief rivals.

Vogel, 27, was the youngest person ever to be elected to the Maryland General Assembly.

If elected to Congress, he would be only the second “Gen Z” lawmaker on Capitol Hill.

Vogel has stressed progressive issues, including gun control and addressing climate change.

He has criticized Delaney for her friendships with some Republicans, including U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Earlier this year, he posted on X: “No one wants a friend of Chief Justice John Roberts to buy an election here in #MD06.”

His criticism of Delaney has been more direct than that of other candidates.

Others seeking the Democratic nomination include state Del. Lesley Lopez of Montgomery County, Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez and Montgomery County Council member Laurie-Anne Sales.

Campaign funding records indicate that Martinez is third in fundraising, behind Delaney and Vogel.

On the Republican side, the two GOP candidates with the most name recognition are former state delegate Neil Parrott and former gubernatorial candidate Dan Cox.

The Republican candidates have stressed issues including illegal immigration and securing the southern border, as well as the need to cut federal spending and lower inflation.

Parrot has twice run for the seat before, after securing the GOP nomination.

He lost by just under 10 percentage points to Trone in 2022.

Parrott supports former President Donald Trump, though he has differed with him on some issues.

Cox is a strong supporter of the former president and at a candidate forum earlier this year indicated he still believes the election was stolen from Mr. Trump.

Among the other candidates is Tom Royals, who works in the private sector and is a former Navy fighter pilot.

He has raised considerable campaign funds, as he tries to overcome the name recognition of Parrott and Cox.

3rd District

While the 6th District race is crowded with candidates, no field is larger than that of the 3rd District.

More than 30 candidates, including 22 Democrats, are running for the seat that opened up when Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes announced he would not seek reelection.

The district includes Howard County, parts of Anne Arundel County and a small part of Carroll County.

State Sen. Sarah Elfreth of Anne Arundel County has the support of Sen. Ben Cardin and pledges to continue his work to protect the Chesapeake Bay.

State Sen. Clarence Lam, who represents Anne Arundel and Howard counties, is another leading candidate.

Like others seeking the Democratic nomination, he has stressed abortion rights, fighting gun violence and tackling climate change.

Former U.S. Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn has received attention for speaking out about Jan. 6, 2021, when he was among law enforcement officers at the Capitol.

He has proven to be a strong fundraiser, which has been helped by speaking out to national media outlets.

He has raised millions of dollars and acknowledges he would not have run for Congress if he didn’t experience what happened on Jan. 6.

The Democratic nominee will be heavily favored to win the general election in the blue district.

Among the GOP candidates is Arthur Radford Baker Jr., a retired FBI agent, who has stressed fighting crime as his top issue.

2nd District

The 2nd District seat opened up with the announced retirement of longtime Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.

The district includes parts of Baltimore and Carroll counties, as well as parts of Baltimore city.

The two leading candidates for the Democratic nomination are Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski and state Del. Harry Bhandari, who represents Baltimore County.

Olszewski has a sizable fundraising advantage, raising close to a half-million dollars through March, compared to under $70,000 for Bhandari.

Olszewski has cited his experience, which tracks with Ruppersberger, who also served as Baltimore County executive.

Bhandari has a unique life story. Originally from Nepal, he came to the U.S. in 2005 and worked various jobs before getting a Ph.D at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

He has served in the General Assembly since 2018.

Three Republicans are seeking the GOP nomination, including Kim Klacik, a conservative radio talk show host.

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Mitchell Miller

Mitchell Miller has worked at WTOP since 1996, as a producer, editor, reporter and Senior News Director. After working "behind the scenes," coordinating coverage and reporter coverage for years, Mitchell moved back to his first love -- reporting. He is now WTOP's Capitol Hill reporter.

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