As races for Maryland House and Senate seats heat up ahead of the April 26 primaries, here are some of the top fights to watch:
U.S. Senate: Donna Edwards (D), Chris Van Hollen (D) Top Packed Field: Donna Edwards, a congresswoman who represents Maryland’s 4th District, is seeking the open Senate seat along with 8th District congressman Chris Van Hollen. The two candidates faced off March 18 in the first debate of the Maryland Democratic primary to fill the seat held by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D), who is retiring after 30 years in the Senate. The debate was hosted by WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi.
Edwards was elected in 2008, becoming the first African-American woman to represent Maryland in Congress. The lawyer and community activist defeated 15-year incumbent Albert Wynn in the 2008 Democratic primary, and, following his resignation, won a special election to fill the remainder of his term. Her legislative accomplishments include adding Maryland to the Afterschool Suppers Program, which provides meals to youth programs in low-income areas, according to her campaign's site.
Van Hollen was elected to Congress in 2002. Prior to his election to the House of Representatives, he served four years in the Maryland House of Delegates and eight years in the Maryland Senate. In addition to representing District 8 and serving in House leadership, Van Hollen was re-elected in 2012 to serve a second term as the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, according to his House of Representative's page. His leadership in Congress has helped obtain funding for investments in infrastructure, biotechnology, education and anti-gang initiatives, according to the page.
Edwards and Van Hollen also have to deal with Democratic challenges from several other candidates: Freddie Donald Dickson Jr., Ralph Jaffe, Teresa C. Scaldaferri, Charles U. Smith, Violet Staley, Blaine Taylor, Ed Tinus and Lih Young.
For the Republicans, Chris Chaffee, Sean P. Connor, Richard J. Douglas, John R. Graziani, Greg Holmes, Joseph David Hooe, Chrys Kefalas, Mark McNicholas, Lynn Richardson, Anthony Seda, Richard Shawver, Kathy Szeliga, Dave Wallace and Garry Thomas Yarrington will try to swing Maryland to the Red side.
8th Congressional District: Nine Democrats, Five Republicans : District 8 is becoming one of the most expensive primary contests for a House seat in the nation. Incumbent Van Hollen will vacate the seat. The 8th Congressional District is fairly Democratic, and although there is a wealth of good candidates, it appears to be a three-way race.
Matthews worked as a reporter for WJLA before she became an executive for Marriott International. Her progressive views fit the mold of much of the district. However, some of Matthews’ opponents are questioning campaign donations from guests of husband Chris Matthews’ MSNBC talk show “Hardball,” The Washington Post reported.
The Maryland Senate’s majority whip, Raskin, is a constitutional law professor at American University and he has played key roles in legalizing same-sex marriage, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and introducing Maryland’s Jane Lawton Farm-to-School program and the Green Maryland Act, according to his campaign page.
Trone is the founder of Total Wine & More with a story of success after humble beginnings, having grown up working on his father’s struggling farm. The Montgomery County businessman gained attention with big spending on campaign advertising and feels his knowledge in politics from his business makes him an able candidate, according to his campaign page.
David M. Anderson, Kumar P. Barve, Dan Bolling, Ana Sol Gutierrez, William Jawando, Jamie Raskin and Joel Rubin are on the ballot on the Democratic side. On the Republican side, Dan Cox, Jeffrey W. Jones, Liz Matory, Aryeh Shudofsky and Shelly Skolnick are running for the congressional seat.
6th Congressional District: Ten Vs. One: Eight Republican candidates, one Democratic candidate and one Green Party candidate are vying to challenge incumbent Democrat John Delaney for the District 6 seat. The 6th District, which spans from Potomac and Gaithersburg to Garrett County in western Maryland, was redrawn -- gerrymandered, according to critics -- in 2011 to boost chances of electing a Democrat. About half of the district’s registered voters now live in Montgomery County, Bethesda Magazine reported.
Delaney was elected in 2012 and barely beat out Republican candidate Dan Bongino in his second run, according to Ballotpedia. Prior to serving in the House, Delaney was a successful entrepreneur, having founded two New York Stock Exchange-listed companies before he turned 40, according to his campaign site.
Puca was a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in 2010. He was a business owner and CEO before becoming a mortgage loan officer, according to his campaign site.
Two Republican candidates are being called standouts because of their expensive campaigns. Amie Hoeber, former Deputy Under Secretary of the Army, has indicated a willingness to pump substantial personal funds into the contest, increasing pressure on opponents to intensify their fundraising and spending. Her focus is on national security and environmental cleanup programs, according to her campaign page.
Conservative State Delegate David Vogt, a veteran Marine and the 2010 Marine of the Year, is also running for the seat. As delegate, Vogt has fought to cut taxes, balance the budget and to uphold the Second Amendment. His legislative work includes the passing of a jobs bill for veterans. Additionally, his campaign has been endorsed by more than 30 conservative leaders from Maryland, according to his campaign page.
Terry Baker, Scott Cheng, Robin Ficker, Frank Howard, Christopher Mason and Harold Painter are also running for the Republican nomination for this House seat. Green Party candidate George Gluck is also seeking the nomination as well.
4th Congressional District: Six Way Race: Incumbent Donna Edwards, who has served District 4 since 2008, will not seek re-election because she is pursuing retiring Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s seat in the Senate. This leaves the House seat open in the 4th District, which is comprised of Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties.
The race for Edwards’ open seat has drawn six candidates including two Prince George’s County Democrats with strong name recognition: former lieutenant governor Anthony G. Brown and former state’s attorney Glenn Ivey.
Brown, who was elected to lieutenant governor on a ticket with Martin O’Malley in 2006, unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014, suffering a defeat to Gov. Larry Hogan. He previously served two four-year terms in the House of Delegates and is currently a colonel in the Army Reserve, according to his campaign page.
Christopher is a retired Lt. Colonel of the U.S. Army and former chief of staff at the Department of the Interior, according to his campaign page.
Fogg was formerly with the U.S. Marshal's Service, retiring as deputy marshal with a distinguished career, according to his campaign page.
Ivey, who served as a state’s attorney for Prince George’s County from 2002 to 2010, previously ran for election to the District 4 House seat in 2012 but dropped out before the filing date due to insufficient funding. However, Ivey does not believe he will have trouble raising enough money for a competitive race this time around, The Washington Post reported. As a state’s attorney, He has focused on fighting domestic violence and reducing violent crime, issues he plans to continue giving attention to as a congressman, according to his campaign page.
Pena-Melnyk is the current state delegate representing a district consisting of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties. She also won the endorsement of The Washington Post editorial board for her "energy, grit and determination." She worked as a lawyer representing abused and neglected kids, according to her campaign page.
Strait received a master's degree in psychology and has served in the U.S. Army, according to his campaign site.