“I know that first of all, it’s not his seat, it’s the people’s seat,” Mr. Ficker said. “I know that the people in this district want someone who will promote jobs and prosperity and not be a tax-increase specialist.”
Mr. Garagiola, who’s been in the Maryland Senate for nine years, dismissed redistricting as a main reason he got into the race. He wants to represent the district instead of having an “ideological member of Congress,” do the job, he said.
“I think in part there’s a frustration in the public right now that Congress is doing these stopgap (measures), with the budgets and really operating in a very dysfunctional way,” said Mr. Garagiola, a Germantown resident.
The Republican Congress, he said, has not moved a jobs bill for the past nine months and has been focused on partisan politics rather than the U.S. economy.
“It’s a nice contrast. You’ve got the establishment candidate who comes out of the Annapolis insiders’ club, and you’ve got the insurgent progressive candidate who has a track record of independence and common sense,” said Ms. Trachtenberg, a North Bethesda resident. “It’s a clear contrast, we’ve got different records and I think we have a different approach to problem solving.”
Jefferson resident Mr. Pooran paints both his primary opponents as career politicians. His military and medical experiences are assets he said he would bring to Congress. Mr. Pooran served in the U.S. Air Force Medical Corps and the Maryland Air National Guard.
“I think the way our country was designed to be was truly private citizens who felt strongly in a cause and then went into politics for that purpose,” Mr. Pooran said. “And then they went back to being private citizens.”
His cause, he said is to help get the country out of the economic crisis by cutting non-essential government programs and increasing revenue by reforming the tax code.
Other Democrats could enter the race before the Jan. 11 filing deadline, though Gazette columnist and WBAL radio commentator Blair Lee said Mr. Garagiola likely will get the nomination. However, whether Democrats vote by party lines or whether they are frustrated with the district’s gerrymandering will decide which party wins the election, Mr. Lee said.
“If I’m Roscoe Bartlett, I run on gerrymandering and nothing else,” Mr. Lee said. “I run against the entire Democratic apparatus that disenfranchised Western Maryland. I make that the issue and not Garagiola. That would entice a lot of Western Maryland Democrats to vote their resentment.”
Mr. Coblentz, a 33-year-old systems analyst from Williamsport, said he’s running against Mr. Bartlett, not because he disagrees with his policies, but because he believes the congressman has been in office too long.