Garagiola jumps into Maryland's 6th District
Citing a "petty, partisan logjam in Washington" as part of the reason for his campaign, state Sen. Rob Garagiola announced his candidacy for Congress with a series of events Tuesday in Maryland's newly redrawn 6th District.
The Germantown lawmaker is the second high-profile Democrat to formally enter what could be among the most competitive House contests in the country next year -- and he is considered by many to be an early frontrunner in the still emerging Democratic field.
"So much of what we hear from Washington just doesn't sound right," Garagiola said in an address that was heavily critical of congressional Republicans. "Rather than focusing on our economy and jobs, this idealogical Congress has taken this country to the brink of economic disaster."
The seat is currently held by 10-term Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who has said he will seek reelection despite a new district that was drawn to include many more Democratic voters.
Though Garagiola is moving rapidly to secure support from state and national Democrats, there are a handful of potential primary challengers who could alter the landscape of the race, including former Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan and Chevy Chase commercial banker John Delaney.
A former member of the Montgomery County Council, Democrat Duchy Trachtenberg, was the first Democrat to enter the race.
During a four-stop swing through the district, Garagiola was shadowed by Robin Ficker, an attorney, former state lawmaker and sports heckler who is also running for the seat. The Republican held a tall two-by-four with a half dozen red signs hanging from it that read: "No gas tax hike."
In Annapolis, Garagiola had previously introduced a $471 million package of tax and fee increases that would have raised the state's gas tax by 10 cents. His support for the increase is likely to be a significant talking point for his critics, particularly in a district where many voters have long commutes to Washington for work.
"It's going to kill jobs," Ficker said of the possibility of an increased gas tax hike. "We can't stand silent."