- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 26, 2016

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) - Republican challenger Amie Hoeber sharpened her attack on U.S. Rep. John Delaney Wednesday by questioning his maturity and sincerity at a candidate forum less than two weeks before Election Day.

Hoeber, a retired national security adviser and consultant, has made similar comments to reporters, but both she and Delaney, a two-term Democratic incumbent, have exercised cordial restraint during previous face-to-face appearances in the 6th Congressional District.

Hoeber blasted Delaney from the start of the forum sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce in right-leaning western Maryland. She called last June’s sit-in for gun control by Delaney and other House Democrats an example of congressional “kindergarten games.”

“I think that if that didn’t show the immaturity of Congress to the population, I would be very surprised,” Hoeber said.

Delaney said during the demonstration that it was meant to protest the National Rifle Association’s influence in preventing a House vote on legislation to establish universal background checks and measures to prevent suspected terrorists on the FBI’s no-fly list from being able to buy weapons.

Hoeber later attacked Delaney for espousing bipartisanship but voting largely along party lines.

“I think when he talks about bipartisanship, what I hear is that he’s speaking one way and voting another,” she said.

Delaney, out of speaking time, interrupted the forum moderator to point out that the nonpartisan analytical organization GovTrack has ranked him third-highest among House Democrats in writing bipartisan bills.

The candidates also clashed over Delaney’s absence from a meeting on Interstate 81 improvements that he was invited to attend by the administration of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has endorsed Hoeber.

“I would include under bipartisanship actually working with the governor rather than opposing the governor,” Hoeber said.

Delaney replied that a prior commitment prevented him from attending. He said he attended a more recent planning session with state transportation officials in Washington County, and that he has supported some of Hogan’s other transportation projects.

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