As soon as U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes announced in late October that he wouldn’t seek reelection, cellphones in the political world lit up with texts and calls.

Politicians and aspiring politicians began assessing whether a run to succeed Sarbanes would make sense.

Sarbanes is a Democrat serving his ninth term representing the state’s 3rd Congressional District. In its current form, it encompasses all of Howard County, a small bit of Carroll County and a large swath of northern and central Anne Arundel County.

The newest entrant into the race is Juan Dominguez, a military veteran and businessman from Anne Arundel County who had been running for the U.S. Senate. He switched over to the Congressional race instead.

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The list of candidates and contenders continues to grow. Here’s a look at the current lineup.

Democrats

Harry Dunn, a former U.S. Capitol Police officer who defended the Capitol as it was overrun by a mob on Jan. 6, 2021, is running for Congress in Maryland's 3rd Congressional District.
Harry Dunn, a former U.S. Capitol Police officer who defended the Capitol as it was overrun by a mob on Jan. 6, 2021, is running for Congress in Maryland's 3rd Congressional District. (Courtesy of Harry Dunn campaign)

Harry Dunn: Dunn, a decorated former U.S. Capitol police officer, launched his campaign on Friday, almost exactly three years after he endured racist slurs as he defended the Capitol against a violent, pro-Donald Trump mob.

Dunn, who resigned from the police force after 15 years in order to run for office, memorably recounted the day in Congressional testimony and a best-selling book.

“On January 6th, 2021, I did my duty as a police officer and as an American and defended our nation’s Capitol from violent insurrection,” Dunn wrote in a statement. “Today, I’m running for Congress because the forces that spurred that violent attack are still at work and as a patriotic American, it is my duty to defend our democracy.”

Dunn lives in Montgomery County — outside the boundaries of the 3rd District, which includes all of Howard County, a large swath of Anne Arundel County and a portion of Carroll County. Candidates are not required to live in the Congressional district they seek to represent, only in the state.

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Democratic state Sen. Sarah Elfreth launches her campaign for the 3rd Congressional District at a park along Back Creek in Annapolis on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023. Longtime U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes recently announced he won't run for re-election in 2024.
State Sen. Sarah Elfreth, a Democrat from Anne Arundel County, is running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024. (Pamela Wood)

State Sen. Sarah Elfreth: The state senator from Annapolis launched her campaign for the seat in November at a waterfront park in Annapolis.

Elfreth said she’d work on issues ranging from ensuring federal investments come to Maryland to protecting the health of the Chesapeake Bay and working to make childcare and prescription drugs more affordable. Though her home base is all the way at one end of the district, Elfreth said she planned “to listen, to learn and to show up” across all three counties in the district.

Elfreth said she, like many Americans, is tired of “chaos and toxicity” in Washington, D.C. So why would Elfreth want to join that? “Congress isn’t going to get any better unless good people run,” she said.

At her launch event, Elfreth was endorsed by several Democratic women, including state Sen. Dawn Gile, who had considered a run for the seat herself.

Del. Terri Hill, a Democrat from Howard County, is running for the 3rd Congressional District seat in Maryland in 2024.
State Del. Terri Hill, a Democrat from Howard County, is running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024. (Photo courtesy of Terri Hill for Congress)

Del. Terri Hill: A doctor serving in her third term in the House of Delegates, Hill launched her campaign in November with a promise to “fight for the everyday issues that matter in people’s lives.” That includes healthcare, education, public safety, social justice and “ensuring environmentally sustainable and economically thriving communities.”

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In an email announcement, Hill noted that she’s lived in Howard County for 50 years. “I know our community’s history, I share its vision for the future, and I would be honored to serve my neighbors in the United States Congress,” she wrote.

Hill has run for Congress before: Following the death of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, Hill was part of a crowded field of candidates to fill his seat in a special election in 2020. Hill finished fourth in the Democratic primary with 7.4% of the vote, in an election that was ultimately won by U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume.

State Del. Mike Rogers, a Democrat from Anne Arundel County, is running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024. (Kaitlin Newman for The Baltimore Banner)

Del. Mike Rogers: The Anne Arundel County lawmaker filed candidacy paperwork with the federal government in November. Rogers is a retired Army colonel from Laurel who was elected to the House of Delegates in 2018.

“I think I can carry the skills I’ve learned in the military and in Annapolis to Washington to advocate for the folks here in Maryland in the 3rd Congressional District,” Rogers said.

Rogers said he has focused on supporting veterans and protecting consumers during his time in Annapolis. In the military, he served in 32 different countries and managed large programs.

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“One of the things I learned in the military is to work with people from everywhere, to have the ability to understand the other person’s point of view and to really listen,” he said.

There’s already one Mike Rogers in Congress, a Republican who represents Alabama’s 3rd District and chairs the House Armed Services Committee.

Maryland state Sen. Clarence Lam leads a meeting of a General Assembly audit committee at the Miller Senate Office Building in Annapolis on Nov. 14, 2023. The committee reviewed an audit that found financial irregularities at the Department of Health.
State Sen. Clarence Lam, a Democrat from Howard County, is running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024. (Pamela Wood)

State Sen. Clarence Lam: Lam, a Democrat from Columbia, launched his campaign in late November, promoting himself has a pragmatic progressive with a unique medical background.

“I think it takes a problem-solver and a physician and a legislator who has a demonstrated record of achievement to go down there and make a difference for our community,” Lam said in an interview.

A physician specializing in preventive medicine, Lam has been an important voice on public health during his time in Annapolis. He was elected to the House of Delegates in 2014, and then to the state Senate in 2018. Lam’s district was significantly reconfigured in the last round of redistricting, and he currently represents communities in eastern Howard County and northern Anne Arundel County.

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If elected to Congress, Lam said he’d like to pick up on Sarbanes’ work on fair elections, public financing of campaigns and good government measures. “It’s important to carry on the legacy that Congressman Sarbanes has had in ensuring we restore faith in our democracy,” Lam said.

He also would work on issues of healthcare affordability and access, as well as improving environmental health.

Del. Mark Chang is a Democrat representing Anne Arundel County in the House of Delegates. He also is a candidate for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024.
State Del. Mark Chang, a Democrat from Anne Arundel County, is running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024. (courtesy of Mark Chang)

Del. Mark Chang: The Anne Arundel County Democrat said he’s been examining how he can better represent those without a voice, ever since he was asked to leave a community meeting about education in November 2019 for reasons that were never explained to him. No one at the meeting stuck up for him, he said, and not wanting to make a scene, he left.

“That devastated me. That traumatized me. I’ve been in a dark place since then,” Chang told The Baltimore Banner ahead of his campaign launch in early December.

Chang said he put his head down and threw himself into his work as a state delegate, where he’s risen to become the #2 delegate on the committee that reviews the state budget, and he’s in charge of the subcommittee that decides which construction projects around Maryland get state funds.

Chang sees the open Congressional seat as a path to have more influence on issues including combating hate crimes — which his Korean immigrant family experienced firsthand — as well as preventing gun violence, promoting an inclusive economy, protecting women’s health choices and providing universal health care.

“I want to have more of a platform to share my voice,” he said.

Juan Dominguez is a Democrat from Anne Arundel County running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024.
Juan Dominguez is a Democrat from Anne Arundel County running for Maryland's 3rd Congressional District in 2024. (Courtesy of the Juan Dominguez campaign)

Juan Dominguez: The Anne Arundel County businessman and veteran had been running for Maryland’s open U.S. Senate seat for several months. But he switched his campaign over to the 3rd Congressional District in January.

Dominguez had struggled to find footing in the Senate Democratic primary, going up against front-runners Angela Alsobrooks and David Trone. For his House campaign, he lined up a new slate of consultants and advisors.

“The mission remains the same — we will fight to relieve pressures on everyday families, provide quality education for every child, and ensure everyone has the economic opportunity to thrive,” Dominguez said in a statement. “We will bring the battle-tested leadership and fresh vision the district deserves.”

Other candidates: Several other Democrats have filed paperwork to run with either the state or federal government, including: Lindsay Donahue, Kristin Anne Lyman Nabors, Abigail Diehl, Matt Libber, Don Quinn, Stewart Fred Silver, and Malcolm Thomas Colombo.

Republicans

No Republicans with significant political experience or name recognition have entered the race yet. Republicans who have filed candidacy paperwork include: Bernard Flowers, Jordan Ashlee Mayo, Naveed Mian, John Rea and Robert J. Steinberger,

The deadline to file to run is Feb. 9. The primary election opens with early voting starting from May 2 through May 9 and concludes with traditional Election Day voting on May 14.

Not in the running

Del. Vanessa Atterbeary: After entering the race soon after Sarbanes announced his departure, the Howard County Democrat halted her campaign in December, saying she’s turning her focus back to her work as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee. Atterbeary said she’ll focus on securing funding for public school education and gun legislation in light of recent court decisions easing gun access.

“Our strongest leaders are needed right here at home,” she said in a statement.

Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman: A past community organizer who also runs a horse farm in Anne Arundel County, the Democrat surprised many when he won his first term as county executive in 2018. Now in his second term, he’s focused on issues including framing gun violence as a public health issue, protecting the environment and supporting affordable housing. But he said in a statement to The Banner: “I want to make clear, in no uncertain terms, that I have a job to finish serving Anne Arundel County as its County Executive.” Pittman endorsed Elfreth.

Former Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford: After eight years as the #2 to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, Rutherford says he’s now enjoying life outside of politics. “No, it won’t be me,” Rutherford said. He remains frustrated with former President Donald J. Trump’s grip on the Republican Party, and thinks the district is unwinnable for a Republican as long as Trump is a factor.

Sen. Dawn Gile: The first-term Democratic state senator from a purple district Anne Arundel County considered running but opted to endorse Elfreth. “Now, more than ever, our nation needs strong women like Sarah on Capitol Hill,” Gile said at Elfreth’s campaign launch.

Del. Dana Jones: Jones spent most of her career helping to elect candidates for groups like Emily’s List and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee before being appointed to the House of Delegates in 2020. The Anne Arundel Democrat considered a run but posted on social media that “this is not the time for me to run.”

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball: The second-term Democratic Howard County executive considered running but announced he wouldn’t run on Nov. 13.

“I know that so much more work lies ahead to truly ensure Howard County remains the best place to live, work, play, grow, and thrive for all,” Ball said in a statement.

Yuripzy Morgan: The Republican lawyer and former radio talk show host earned 40% of the vote against Sarbanes in 2022. She considered running again, but opted not to. She’s not closing the door to elected politics, though: “It was a wonderful experience and I will do it again,” Morgan told WBAL Radio on Jan. 4. She’s now working for a group called People for Elected Accountability and Civic Engagement.

Brenda Wintrode contributed to this article.

pamela.wood@thebaltimorebanner.com