Maryland Senate Majority Leader Robert J. Garagiola will formally announce Tuesday that he is running for Congress, but an Internet-savvy observer could have discovered his candidacy weeks ago.
Mr. Garagiola, Montgomery Democrat, has said coyly for weeks that he is considering a challenge to Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, but he may have made his intentions perfectly clear Sept. 26, when he registered the Web domain name garagiolaforcongress.com.
The site is not active, but confirmation of its existence can be found easily by searching any of the Internet’s numerous domain name databases.
The registries essentially show any website’s date of creation and contact information for its creator. But they can also betray politicians who want to keep the wraps on a possible run for office while trying to snatch up a catchy URL address before others lay claim.
Former Montgomery County Council member Duchy Trachtenberg also jumped the gun when her campaign consultant, Joe Trippi, registered the domain name Duchy2012.com on Oct. 13 — a full seven days before she announced her candidacy for Mr. Bartlett’s 6th District seat.
Fortunately, her website and Mr. Garagiola’s went largely undiscovered in the days after their registration.
One potential candidate who is rumored to be considering a run in the 6th District, former three-term Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan, apparently has yet to tip his virtual hand.
Registry searches show no apparent sign of Mr. Duncan, a Democrat, having joined the race, as URLs dougduncanforcongress.com and electdougduncan.com are still available.
Other site names — duncan2012.com, duncanforcongress.com and dougduncan.com — have been claimed by other candidates or private citizens, some of whom have held onto their sites for years and are registered in other states.