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McClain Delaney, Parrott to face off in Western Maryland for 6th District seat

In World
May 15, 2024

A former state delegate from Western Maryland and a Biden administration telecommunications official claimed victory in their respective primaries Tuesday, setting the stage for a campaign this fall to represent Maryland’s most competitive congressional district.

With close to 90% of precincts reporting, Democrat April McClain Delaney, a lawyer, philanthropist and former U.S. Commerce Department official, had 39% of the vote to 26% for her nearest competitor, Del. Joe Vogel (D-Montgomery), in a 16-candidate field.

Former Del. Neil Parrott had 48% of the Republican primary vote in unofficial returns, to 29% for Dan Cox, the party’s failed 2022 gubernatorial nominee.

McClain Delaney gathered with supporters — including a healthy number of current and former elected officials — at a ballroom in downtown Frederick, where supporters cheered, “Take back the House!” before she took the stage.

The primary victory “really shows that our commonsense, common-ground campaign theme is resonating with the district,” McClain Delaney told supporters, vowing to overcome “corrosive division” and partisan gridlock in Washington if elected in November.

In an interview, McClain Delaney said she is “very much a Democrat” but also cares deeply about issues that cross partisan lines, including establishing safeguards around Big Tech, expanding access to mental health care and expanding economic opportunity.

The 6th District, which includes all of Western Maryland, Frederick County and part of northern Montgomery County, is expected to be the state’s most competitive congressional race in the November general election.

Parrott, who celebrated Tuesday with supporters at Cancun Cantina, a restaurant in Hagerstown, spent Election Day putting out signs at every precinct in Allegany County and greeting voters in Garrett County. In a final pre-election message on Facebook, Parrott said he would “change the direction of our country” if elected.

“We can bring down the cost of living. We can stop runaway inflation and reckless spending. We can close the southern border and stop fentanyl and violent criminals from entering our country,” he wrote. “We can finally bring conservative leadership to western Maryland and upper Montgomery County!”

Election night results are unofficial, and include most Election Day ballots, early voting tallies and some mail-in votes. More mail-in ballot results will be released after a statewide canvas on Thursday. Final results, including all mail-in and provisional ballots, are not expected until May 24.

The 6th District seat came open when incumbent Rep. David Trone (D-6th) announced his — apparently unsuccessful, as of Tuesday night — bid for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D). The open House seat attracted seven GOP hopefuls and 16 Democrats, including Del. Lesley Lopez (D-Montgomery), Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez, Montgomery County Councilmember Laurie-Anne Sayles and 2022 gubernatorial candidate Ashwani Jain.

McClain Delaney and Vogel were viewed as frontrunners, attracting high-profile endorsements and six-figure fundraising hauls.

McClain Delaney self-funded about $1 million of the $1.9 million her campaign raised through late April, according to the Federal Election Commission. She was endorsed by three current members of the state’s congressional delegation, Moms Demand Action and The Washington Post’s editorial board.

Vogel, a 27-year-old state lawmaker who represents parts of Rockville and Gaithersburg, is openly gay and Jewish. He came to the U.S. with his parents from Uruguay when he was 3 years old. Latino organizations and groups that back LGBTQ+ candidates were among his most reliable donors this campaign. He received the influential “Apple Ballot” endorsement from the state’s teachers union.

Before results were posted Tuesday night, Vogel posted a thank you message to supporters on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“From knocking doors to calling voters, our grassroots operation has defied expectations and shown just how powerful a people-powered campaign can be,” he wrote.

The Democrats’ campaigns traded attacks in the final weeks of the race, with Vogel attacking McClain Delaney’s self-funding, saying she thought “she can buy her way to victory.” McClain Delaney’s campaign criticized Vogel’s funding by political action committees, saying the “dark money” groups were “running an old, tired, negative campaign.”

McClain Delaney said she spoke with Vogel on Tuesday night and they were both focused on bringing the party together.

Polling tied to the campaigns had predicted a close race ahead of Tuesday.

The GOP field included Cox, a former delegate; Parrott, who represented Washington County in the House of Delegates for 12 years; Tom Royals, a military veteran; and former state Del. Brenda J. Thiam, who also represented Washington County.

Parrott was the GOP nominee in 2020 against Trone, who beat him by 20 points. Parrott tried again in 2022, when a redrawn 6th District was somewhat more favorable to Republicans. He still lost by over 9 percentage points.

Among Republicans in the race, Royals led the way on fundraising, bringing in $521,197.17 through late April. Parrott raised $346,607.58 at the same point, while Cox lagged in fundraising, despite his ties to former President Donald Trump. Cox brought in $123,311.79 through April, a take that included $3,000 from his own pocket.

McClain Delaney’s spouse, former U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D), held the 6th District seat from 2013 to 2019, when he did not seek reelection.

After redistricting in 2022, the 6th District became the most potentially competitive in the state, taking in the entirety of Republican-heavy Western Maryland, as well as all of Frederick County and northern Montgomery County. Even so, the race was rated as “likely Democrat” by the Cook Political Report earlier this month.

The general election is Nov. 5.

The post McClain Delaney, Parrott to face off in Western Maryland for 6th District seat appeared first on Maryland Matters.

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