Challengers for the aggressively-contested 6th congressional district in Maryland are set following a primary day with relatively low voter turnout. Democratic state senator Rob Garagiola, backed by top state politicians, began this race with a decided edge. That advantage eroded as his opponent financier John Delaney poured more than a million dollars of his own cash into an effort to defeat him.
As he visited a voting center in Germantown yesterday afternoon, Garagiola seemed to have another concern: low turnout. "But there are people here in Montgomery County that have voted for me three times for the senate," he added. "And they’re the ones that will come out and vote in a low turnout election."
By late last night, voters in the newly redrawn district had decided. With 77 percent of precincts reporting, Delaney was leading with 55 percent of the vote. Garagiola, with only 27 percent, called his opponent to concede defeat. Minutes later Delaney took the stage at his headquarters to thank supporters.
"I’ve seen people execute at a high level but I’ve never seen anything like this," he said. "We were underestimated in the campaign and you overwhelmed everyone, so thank you, thank you, thank you!"
Delaney will face GOP incumbent Roscoe Bartlett, who beat a pool of seven challengers, which was yesterday led by state senator David Brinkley.
In other congressional primary races yesterday, five Maryland contested races ended with incumbents being nominated for re-election. Democratic voters in yesterday's primary nominated Rep. John Sarbanes in the 3rd Congressional District, Rep. Donna Edwards in the 4th, Rep. Steny Hoyer in the 5th, Rep. Elijah Cummings in the 7th and Rep. Chris Van Hollen in the 8th.
The state's two other House members -- freshman Rep. Andy Harris (R) in the 1st District and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) in the 2nd -- were uncontested in the primary.
In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Sen. Benjamin Cardin (D) was able to fend off an insurgent challenge from State Senator C. Anthony Muse, and will face former U.S. Secret Service agent Daniel Bongino, who won the GOP nod.