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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Sixth District Congressional Race Is The One To Watch Today

George Wenschhof

Interestingly, at least three of the candidates; two Republicans (David Brinkley and Kathy Afzali) and one Democrat (John Delaney) will not be able to vote for themselves today. Living outside of the district they wish to represent, they are asking voters to cast their ballots for them today.

This is just one example of the many dynamics taking place in the newly created sixth district which makes this race the one to watch. The gerrymandered district, drawn to favor Democrats, spurred a total of 13 candidates to file; eight Republicans and five Democrats.

After months of listening to Republican and Democratic candidates telling them why they should cast their ballot for them, voters, who did not take advantage of the early opportunity, will weigh in today.

Maryland, Wisconsin and D.C. hold primaries today. In Maryland, in addition to the president, there are eight congressional contests, a U.S. Senate seat and several counties are holding board of education elections.

The polls will close at 8:00 PM and in case someone does not know the location of their polling location, the Maryland Elections Center has a poll location finder for you here:

On the Republican side, 20 year incumbent Roscoe Bartlett is favored. Although, with half of the new district now including voters from Montgomery county, (who do not know Bartlett), the others seven Republican candidates are hoping for an upset.

The Democratic candidates realize, the primary winner will most likely go on to win the general, buoyed by a 43,000 registered voter advantage in the new district.

As a result, the infighting has been vicious. John Delaney, who resides outside the district, has spent $1.4 million of his considerable wealth on this contest. His campaign has also relied heavily on endorsements from outside the district, notably from former president Bill Clinton and the Washington Post.

Maryland state senate majority leader Rob Garagiola, on the other hand, has the backing from elected officials throughout the district, Governor Martin O'Malley, major unions, environmental groups and

Bolstered, by the endorsement of Howard Dean, Dr. Milad Pooran, who has also put over $200,000 of his own money into the race, is hoping the Delaney and Garagiola battle will allow him to squeak out a victory with a plurality of the vote.

It is likely the Democratic winner will result from the campaign with the best get-out-the-vote effort.

Sean Rankin, campaign manager for Rob Garagiola estimates Democratic voter turnout will be between 40,000 - 45,000, which is under 25%. Former Maryland Secretary of State John Willis shares this view. Both, point out there is no top of the ballot race (President Obama is unopposed) to spur voter excitement. Rankin adds public schools are on spring break in four of the five counties in the district.

One also has to wonder; if, the spirited Democratic primary, with considerable combined campaign funds spent, will result in a higher turnout.

We will know soon enough. Expect, results to come trickling in by 9:00 PM.

I cast my vote for Rob Garagiola for Congress during the early voting period. Rob has a proven track record of building consensus on the difficult issues facing Americans today and producing results.

For, those of you who did not take advantage of early voting, go cast your ballot today!


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