Maryland Republicans See a Bit of Red in Deep Blue State

Maryland Republicans See a Bit of Red in Deep Blue State

In deep-blue Maryland where seven of the state’s eight congressional districts are represented by Democrats, redistricting has provided Republicans with a perceived opportunity to capture a U.S. House seat.

That makes the GOP Congressional District 6 (CD 6) clash between Del. Neil Parrott (R-Hagerstown), who has served 12 years in the state’s General Assembly, and 25-year-old investigative journalist Matthew Foldi the most watched contest in the state’s July 19 U.S. House primaries.

The winner of the Republican primary in the reconfigured district is expected to give two-term Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) a competitive tussle in November’s general election.

The other Maryland congressional primary drawing attention is in CD 4, where nine Democrats are vying to succeed three-term Rep. Anthony Brown (D-Md.), who is leaving Congress to run for state attorney general.

Maryland Congressional District 6 Republican candidate Matthew Foldi, one of the nation’s youngest congressional contenders, greets residents during Montgomery Village’s July 4 parade. (Courtesy of Matthew Foldi for Congress)

Whoever emerges victorious from the CD 4 Democratic preliminary battle in this solidly-Democratic district will likely meet little resistance from the Republican entry in November’s general election.

Otherwise, Maryland’s July 19 federal slate offers little anticipated drama, including the state’s U.S. Senate preliminaries where Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) faces nominal primary opposition and is projected to breeze past his GOP opponent in the fall to secure a second six-year term.

Altogether, there are 65 candidates on Maryland’s eight congressional primary ballots, including 31 Democrats and 34 Republicans.

Those 65 candidates include the seven congressional incumbents who all boast massive funding advantages over primary challengers and are projected to advance to the general election.

Among those seven incumbents is Maryland’s only Republican House member, six-term Rep. Andrew Harris (R-Md.), who is the only sitting rep not being tested in a primary.

He will be the overwhelming favorite to defeat the winner of the Democratic primary between Dave Harden and Heather Mizeur in November.

The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball all rate CD 1 as solid Republican.

Also expected to advance: CD 2’s 10-term Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.); CD 3’s eight-term Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md); CD 5’s Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), House Majority Leader who has served 42 years in Congress; CD 7’s first-term Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D-Md.); and three-term Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), lead impeachment manager for former president Donald Trump’s second impeachment who sits on the House Select Committee on the Jan.6 protest.

The Cook Political Report, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales, and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball all rate these districts, as well as CD 4, as solid Democratic.

Of the nine Democrats running in the CD 4 primary, the clear front-runners are former assistant U.S. Attorney, Maryland Public Service Commission chair, and twice-elected State’s Attorney for Prince George’s County Glenn Ivey and former Rep. Donna Edwards, who in 2008 became the first black woman elected to represent Maryland in Congress and served four terms in the House.

Ivey, who has served as chief counsel for the U.S. Senate Majority Leader and chief majority counsel to the Senate Banking Committee, has raised $1.26 million for his campaign, which had $321,127 cash on hand as of June 29, according to his Federal Elections Commission (FEC) filing.

Edwards, an NBC/MSNBC analyst and contributing Washington Post columnist who in 2017 borrowed a RV named “Lucille” and traveled 12,000 miles across the country taking with voters, has raised more than $980,000 for her campaign, which had $243,247 cash on hand as of June 29, according to her FEC filing.

Of the state’s eight congressional districts, CD 6 is the only one that isn’t solid blue or, in CD 1’s case, solid red.

The Cook Political Report and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rate it as “Lean Democratic” while Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales classifies it “Likely Democratic.”

CD 6 had previously been “solid” Democratic before deep blue areas in Montgomery County were shifted out of the district in post-Census reapportionment. The district spans much of the state’s western panhandle framed by Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia where there is a higher density of Republican voters.

Trone, co-founder of Total Wine & More, a 210-store retail chain based in North Bethesda, Maryland, is expected to breeze by three rivals in the Democratic primary and will have a massive war chest to defend his seat in November.

According to his campaign’s June 29 FEC filing, he has raised $12.78 million, spent $2.116 million, and had a whopping $10.76 million in cash on hand.

Jockeying in CD 6’s Republican primary to take Trone on in the general election are GOP contenders, but Parrott and Foldi are the clear frontrunners in the race.

Parrott, 51, a Maryland State Highway Administration traffic engineer and former City of Frederick deputy director of engineering, is a Tea Party activist elected to the General Assembly in 2010.

He has made election integrity a priority for more than a decade, proposing voter ID bills and introducing legislation to require signatures on ballots that exactly match those on registration forms.

Parrott was among state lawmakers who sued Gov. Larry Hogan to challenge his emergency pandemic orders.

His campaign calls for placing “social media monopolies” under the control of the FEC “to enforce freedom on these platforms.”

Parrott vows to defend Second Amendment rights, protect the “right to life,” encode “medical freedom” to ensure the unvaccinated are not treated like “second-class citizens,” and promote “pro-parent policies.”

He maintains the best way lower inflation is by “reducing borrowing and spending less,” and will “work to restore our energy independence by allowing the United States to harvest our own natural resources and allowing us to use the most cost-effective energy.”

In Congress, Parrott said he’ll lobby for federal money to widen CD 6’s north-south roads, particularly U.S. 219,  I-81 in Washington County, and  I-270 in Frederick and Montgomery counties.

Parrott acknowledges Joe Biden won the 2020 election and is the legitimate president. He declined to attend former president Donald Trump’s Jan. 6, 2021 rally and has condemned the violence it engendered.

Foldi was named Maryland Young Republican of the Year in 2015, is the vice president of the Montgomery County Young Republicans, and is vice president of the Montgomery County GOP Club.

As an investigative reporter at the Washington Free Beacon, he exposed U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm’s “multi-million-dollar relationship with an electric vehicle company receiving government perks, and Chinese Communist Party influence in the Commerce Department.”

His reporting has led “to multiple Congressional investigations” and has been featured on FOX News and Newsmax.

Foldi has been endorsed by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and has vowed to issue subpoenas and conduct oversight of the Biden administration if elected.

His campaign calls for securing the border, supporting law enforcement, and taking measures to “crush Communist China.”

“The Chinese Communist Party is infiltrating every level of American society, from its spyware Tik Tok that is destroying teenage girls’ mental health to buying off our professional athletes,” Foldi says in a campaign statement.

In Congress, he will “unleash American energy,” stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, fight corruption, and promote parents’ rights.

According to their June 29 FEC filings, Parrott had $344,757 cash on hand and Foldi $98,422 with three weeks to go before election day.

With the state’s July 7–14 early voting period over, turnout for primary elections has been light, reports the Maryland State Board of Elections (MSBE).

In addition to the eight congressional contests and one Senate race, the state’s primary slate includes inter-party races for governor, attorney general, comptroller, and state assembly.

In 2018, the last non-presidential election year, 872,207 people, about 24 percent of eligible voters, cast ballots in Maryland primaries, with 30,122 mailing them in.

For 2022’s midterm primaries, more than 500,000 Marylanders have requested mail-in ballots, with about 115,000 returned by July 12, according to MSBE.

Maryland law prohibits counting mail-in votes until the Thursday after election day. Conclusive results won’t be available until that day, the soonest, with late-counted ballots likely to determine the winners in the gubernatorial primaries and many other contests.

John Haughey


John Haughey has been a working journalist since 1978 with an extensive background in local government, state legislatures, and growth and development. A graduate of the University of Wyoming, he is a Navy veteran who fought fires at sea during three deployments aboard USS Constellation. He’s been a reporter for daily newspapers in California, Washington, Wyoming, New York, and Florida; a staff writer for Manhattan-based business trade publications.

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