One of the two Republicans representing Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives is facing a lot of competition in the upcoming primary.
Six of the seven candidates challenging 10-term incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in the 6th Congressional District race appeared at a Frederick News-Post-sponsored forum.
State Sen. David Brinkley said he's best qualified to replace Bartlett.
“I’m born and bred here,” he said. “My business is here, my family's here. I know what this District needs to thrive and survive.”
Kathy Afzali was recently elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.
“And I hope to continue to lead to elect more conservatives, constitutional conservatives, in Maryland as well as our national government,” she said.
The 6th District combines parts of western Maryland with portions of Frederick and Montgomery counties, where candidate Robin Ficker placed referendum questions on the ballot. .
“My questions in Montgomery County have gotten 2 million votes over the Democrats,” he said.
Each candidate explained why they think they are best qualified to serve in Congress.
“I’m responsible for other people's money as being a project manager,” Robert Coblentz said. “I just know what it’s like to be out there and try to fight for what you believe in.”
“I'm the guy can figure stuff out that no one seems to be able to figure out, and I'm also a very good salesman,” Peter James said.
“I’ve started companies,” Joseph Krysztoforski. “I've brought companies public. One of the companies I brought public is one of the largest information providers on the Internet.”
The seventh challenger, Brandon Orman Rippeon, missed the forum because of a scheduling conflict. Bartlett missed the forum due to votes in Washington.
Whoever wins the Republican primary, Democrats hope they can win the seat for the first time in 20 years. The District was redrawn to include parts of conservative western Maryland and portions of more liberal Montgomery County after which Bartlett was hesitant to declare his intention to run again.
State Sen. Robert Garagiola was the early favorite to win the Democratic nomination to challenge Bartlett, but now he has four challengers in the Democratic primary.
At the News-Post forum, businessman John Delaney said he knows most about job creation.
“We need new people to do it, which is why The Washington Post endorsed me and which is why President [Bill] Clinton has endorsed me as well, because I’ve got the right ideas and I’m an independent-minded candidate who can make a difference in Congress.”
For Charles Bailey, unemployment is a top priority.
“When I was at Boonsboro High School, these valleys were full of full-time, benefit-providing, good-paying jobs,” he said. “Not anymore. I don’t believe any other candidate will make any real change because they all just seem too comfortable.”
Ron Little said he would be a citizen legislator.
“Someone who’s invested in the community to make sure that we have the resources and things that the community needs to thrive and to be productive,” he said.
Milad Pooran said he will never be beholding to special interests.
“I have a record of public service to include 13 years in the Air National Guard including tours of duty in Iraq and public health work that have prepared me to represent residents of the 6th District,” Milad Pooran said.
Garagiola didn't attend the forum in Frederick because he's in Annapolis. He said he is posting answers to the same questions that were asked of the candidates at the forum on his website.