A race for Congress in a district that stretches from the western edge of Maryland to the D.C. suburbs is shaping up with multiple contenders, including some familiar names.

U.S. Rep. David Trone, a Democrat, is giving up his seat in the 6th Congressional District to make a run for the U.S. Senate. The open seat has inspired a long list of hopefuls.


Last year’s Republican nominee for governor, Dan Cox, entered the race this week, saying in a launch video that, “We must choose to put our families and freedom first.”

Cox’s video went strong on anti-immigrant rhetoric, claiming those entering the country without documentation are responsible for crime and drug addiction.

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Dan Cox is back, running for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District. (Jessica Gallagher/Jessica Gallagher)

Cox, you will recall, is a lawyer and former state lawmaker who sued then-Gov. Larry Hogan over coronavirus restrictions, represented voters who refused to wear masks during the pandemic, questioned the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, and organized buses to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021 — though he said he left before mobs overran the U.S. Capitol building that day. Cox lost the gubernatorial election to Democrat Wes Moore, 65% to 32%.

Cox promised in his video to be a “voice of reason and courage” in Congress, “to put families ahead of special interests and deliver results for you.”

Cox’s entrance into the race isn’t much of a surprise. Back in the summer, someone filed federal paperwork for Cox to run, but he claimed at the time the filing was fraudulent and he was still weighing the decision

Other Republicans who have filed paperwork or announced a run for the seat include: Chris Hyser of Frederick County, Todd Puglisi of Montgomery County, Mariela Roca of Frederick County, Tom Royals of Montgomery County, Woodsboro Mayor Heath Barnes and former state Del. Brenda Thiam from Washington County.

Neil Parrott, a former state delegate who was the Republican nominee in 2022, is reported to be considering another run, as is current Del. Jason Buckel of Western Maryland.

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The Democratic race for the 6th District seat also got interesting this week, with the entrance of April McClain Delaney.

Delaney is a lawyer in the field of telecommunications law and regulations, and most recently worked at the U.S. Department of Commerce as deputy assistant secretary for communications and information.

In her launch video, Delaney said she hopes to work on issues including the high cost of living, the effects of artificial intelligence, reforming immigration laws, protecting reproductive freedom, climate change and hyperpartisanship.

“We all need to stand up for our democracy,” Delaney said in the video. “Collectively, we can face these challenges head-on.”

She’s also the wife of John Delaney, who used to hold the very same Congressional seat and made a brief and unsuccessful run for president in 2020.

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Delaney joins a crowded Democratic field that includes: Del. Joe Vogel of Montgomery County; Del. Lesley Lopez of Montgomery County; Montgomery County Councilwoman Laurie-Anne Sayles; Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez; former gubernatorial candidate Ashwani Jain; George Gluck of Montgomery County; Geoffrey Grammer of Montgomery County; Stephen R. McDow II of Frederick County; Joel Rubin of Montgomery County; and Destiny Drake West of Montgomery County.


Gov goes to Virginia

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore is crossing the Potomac this weekend to help Virginia Democratic candidates get elected to the state legislature.

Virginia is a notable swing state in presidential elections, and its state elections are equally fascinating. In the Virginia General Assembly, Democrats narrowly control the Senate while Republicans hold a slim edge in the House of Delegates.

Every single one of those seats is up for election this year. Democrats need to pick up five seats ensure a majority in the House of Delegates and Republicans need to add four seats to guarantee control of the Senate.

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Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin — who has flirted with a run for president — is hoping his party will win majorities in both chambers to advance his agenda, including abortion restrictions and tax cuts, while Democrats hope for full legislative control to block those very same measures.

Moore — already tabbed as a rising star in the Democratic Party — will be featured at campaign events for a number of Democrats running for both the House of Delegates and the state Senate, hoping to tip the turnout blue in early voting and for Election Day on Tuesday. He has half a dozen events planned, traveling from the Hampton Roads region to Richmond and Northern Virginia.

“Virginia Democrats couldn’t be more excited to welcome Governor Wes Moore to the Commonwealth to help elect Democrats up and down the ballot ... With his help, we will go into Election Day with the enthusiasm we need to flip the House of Delegates, keep the State Senate blue, and elect Democrats at the local level,” Democratic Party of Virginia Chairwoman Susan Swecker said in a statement.


A presidential shoutout

Speaking of Moore, the governor got quite a shoutout for the state’s new public service program for young people.

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Former President Bill Clinton praised Moore on the social media platform X (formerly Twitter), calling the program “a remarkable accomplishment.”

“I wish all the volunteers much success, and hope more states will follow Maryland’s example!” wrote the 42nd president.

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The Maryland Serves program launched last week with its first class of 280 participants, who will work for one year in service-oriented jobs in government, nonprofit organizations and the private sector. Most are recently out of high school in the Service Year Option track that Moore championed; the rest are of varying ages in Maryland Corps, an existing program that hadn’t been fully implemented before.

Moore spoke about attracting young people to public service at the Clinton Global Initiative’s meeting in New York this fall.

Moore has another connection with the Clinton family: The former president’s daughter Chelsea Clinton has referred to Moore as a friend and attended Moore’s inauguration in January.


Key councilwoman still undecided on Pittman bill

Anne Arundel County Councilwoman Allison Pickard has developed a reputation among constituents, fellow lawmakers and advocates as one of the jurisdiction’s leading voices on housing equity. During a Wednesday symposium in Annapolis dedicated to housing policy, the Democrat was singled out by name several times.

That’s why it might come as a surprise that Pickard is still undecided on how she’ll vote on the Essential Worker Housing Access Act, a bill spearheaded by County Executive Steuart Pittman that would require all new residential developments with a certain number of units to designate a percentage of them for people earning less than the Baltimore area median income.

Pickard, in an interview with The Baltimore Banner Wednesday, said the county executive’s bill does little to remediate the demand for moderately priced and affordable housing in Annapolis, calling it a “sprinkling of units” rather than a solution. She questioned why the second-term Democrat did not propose a more comprehensive suite of proposals or a zoning bill that could allow for more types of housing to be added to developers’ repertoire to compensate for what she referred to as the “missing middle.”

Asked how she would vote on the bill, Pickard replied, “I don’t know.”

“I’m straddling a bigger housing conversation, banging my head against the wall trying to get the [Pittman] administration to take it seriously,” Pickard, the council’s vice chair, said. “Steuart Pittman has been a proponent [of housing] in some ways, but we’re really just catching up with some of our neighbors, and we need to do it in an intentional way.”

“Is Pittman willing to think big?” she asked.

Pittman, during Wednesday’s symposium at the Graduate Annapolis hotel, said the housing access act serves as the final of four housing initiatives he set out to accomplish upon taking office in 2018. The others, related to the county’s affordable housing trust fund, rental assistance and its fair housing statute, have passed.

“To me, it’s got to be part of the puzzle,” he said about the housing access act during a panel discussion. “It’s about having ... a part of the supply increasing that is affordable for folks.”

Already, Pittman has acknowledged that the bill might not have the votes to advance, encouraging constituents and government employees in an email last week to turn out for the Nov. 6 County Council hearing and afternoon rally. He also appeared to acknowledge Pickard’s frustrations during the panel, committing to doing “a whole lot more ... to increase supply, and increase supply for all housing” in addition to the housing act.

And with Pickard occupying one end of the housing policy spectrum — urging Pittman for more robust action — the county executive said developers and builders are voicing concerns at the other end, encouraging him to pump the brakes and commit to studying the matter more in-depth. To them, Pittman’s bill — which will be heard by four council Democrats and three Republicans — may be a step too far.


Baltimore Co. Council wants review of East Towson affordable housing development

Five Baltimore County Council members are asking Maryland’s environmental regulators to study “potential adverse environmental impact of further development” along Herring Run — where residents of a historic Black neighborhood, Historic East Towson, have for years resisted a planned affordable housing development of more than 50 units.

The bipartisan resolution asks the Department of the Environment to review whether development such as the four-story Red Maple Place — which County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr.’s administration has ponied up $1.2 million to build — would perpetuate “continued environmental injustice impacting this historically African American community” off of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The resolution declares that the County Council “believes that the Historic East Towson community should be designated as historic and protected from further development.”

The Randallstown NAACP issued a letter of support for the study. The council is expected to vote on the resolution at its Nov. 6 session.


City spending board compromises on emergency spending

After nearly two months of public negotiations, Mayor Brandon Scott’s administration reached a compromise with Comptroller Bill Henry this week to ensure more transparency for millions of dollars in emergency spending.

The two sides reached an agreement that rewrites rules for the mayor-controlled Board of Estimates to require that Henry and City Council President Nick Mosby, the two members on the board not part of the Scott administration, are alerted whenever finance officials greenlight emergency spending. Henry pushed for the change in an effort to make sure the public doesn’t learn months later about substantial spending decisions that don’t first require vetting by the board.

Until the board approved new rules Wednesday — a compromise between competing resolutions put forward by Henry and Scott’s Law Department — agencies and the administration have often waited to disclose emergency spending until weeks, months, or even more than a year after the fact, when the purchases finally reached the Board of Estimates for retroactive approval.

Over the last two years, Henry’s office estimates that agencies have spent at least $41 million in emergency measures.

Henry acknowledged that in many cases the city has had to address legitimate emergencies. But he has argued that emergencies don’t give the administration license to spend without informing the public.

The problem, Henry argued in a board meeting last month, is that “no one knows what has been approved except the people inside a very small circle in the administration.” It’s not until the administration chooses to share that information that other elected officials and the public find out about it, he said.

Henry first proposed a rule change in a meeting in early September, in which the five-member board was asked to retroactively approve a wide range of items, from $350,000 to prevent the collapse of a historic Druid Hill Avenue building to $3 million on an array of Baltimore Police Department purchases, including uniforms for new officers and replacement of a declining building on the department gun range.

Scott administration officials argued in a board meeting last month that alerting the comptroller and City Council president before a purchase is made risked slowing down urgent action. Henry had asked to be notified at the time an agency makes a request, rather than after the request was approved, but that was not included in the resolution approved Wednesday.


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