By Glynis Kazanjian and Len Lazarick
In frigid temperatures amongst a small crowd outside Frederick City Hall, state Senator David Brinkley, a man who has represented Western Maryland for over 16 years, announced his candidacy for Maryland’s 6th Congressional District Wednesday afternoon.
More quietly, two more Democrats officially filed their candidacies in the race for the Democratic nomination at the Board of Elections in Annapolis Wednesday — commercial banker John Delaney of Potomac and attorney Charles Bailey of Sharpsburg in Washington County. Former Montgomery County Council member Duchy Trachtenburg, a Democrat, announced she was abandoning the race due to the return of her breast cancer.
Surrounded by Republican supporters including many state legislators, Brinkley made clear his intentions to battle the presumed Democratic front-runner state Sen. Robert Garagiola, D-Montgomery, in a newly drawn, Democrat-favored congressional district created by Gov. Martin O’Malley’s redistricting plan.
He also showed no signs of apprehension in taking on 85-year-old, 10-term Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett, in what now appears will be a heated primary battle.
“I will not sit by and watch the Democratic monopoly in this state continue to choose the voters for their incumbents or their anointed candidate,” Brinkley said. “I am the Republican candidate that can keep this district a Republican district. I am the candidate that will not vote for Nancy Pelosi as speaker of the House . . . It is time to pass the Congressional baton before we’re overtaken and a conservative voice for Maryland is lost.”
Brinkley said he thinks he can beat Bartlett. In the time since he announced his exploratory committee, he has raised $50,000 in cash and has received $300,000 in pledges, according to Brinkley’s campaign manager Lawrence Scott.
Bartlett cites fundraising, poll numbers
According to Bartlett spokeswoman Lisa Wright, Bartlett raised nearly half that amount in about the same amount of time. “Beginning only in December [Bartlett] raised more than $160,000 in pledges for his campaign with $100,000 received,” Wright said.
Bartlett also shared some polling data with MarylandReporter.com in a phone call the morning of Brinkley’s announcement. According to Bartlett, a poll conducted in mid-December  shows him beating Garagiola by nine points and receiving “nearly” twice as many primary votes as the other Republican candidates. But Bartlett’s office was unable to furnish the poll in its entirety.
“I’m really gratified,” Bartlett said in an exclusive interview. “There was nothing in the poll that was not encouraging to us.”
Brinkley also referenced the poll at his announcement. He said the same poll showed Bartlett with 43 percent and Garagiola with 35 percent in a match up, but 21 percent of voters were undecided.
“That’s a very dangerous place to be” for an incumbent, said Brinkley.
A source close to the Brinkley campaign said Bartlett also called Brinkley Wednesday morning to try to dissuade him from running, citing the poll numbers in his favor.
When asked about Montgomery County – a steadfast Democrat stronghold – Brinkley said he expects the county to be tough, but winnable.
“We expect to tap into the people who are really hungry for representation. Right now in Montgomery, Republican voters do not have a voice. My mission is to be a unifier,” Brinkley said.
Delaney emphasizes jobs
John Delaney is founder and chairman of CapitalSource in Chevy Chase that helps finance small and medium-sized businesses and a major donor to the Democratic Party and its candidates. But he said in a statement, “I am NOT a political insider and I embrace the notion that people, not party politics, choose a candidate.”
“My priority is jobs and our economy,” Delaney said, a common theme of candidates in the race from both parties. Delaney said he has helped create 1,000 jobs in Montgomery County.
“My campaign will start with visits to job creators and job training facilities, and this will be the focus throughout the campaign,” Delaney said. “During the next 90 days I will be providing detailed plans as to how to address the challenges facing our country in employment, education, and energy – my ‘Three E Approach’ – that is central to our future.”
Former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan endorsed Delaney. “After many years, the Democratic Party has a chance to take back the Sixth Congressional District and I believe that John Delaney is the candidate with the strongest background to go to Washington and turn our economy around,” Duncan said in a statement.
“I know that the families of the Sixth District want something better than the impasse we have in Congress today, and John’s leadership in the business sector and in the community gives him a keen understanding of leading and accomplishing measurable objectives. He is a doer,” Duncan said.
Charles Bailey attended the Maryland Political Forum run by Dan Rupli at the Rockville library Wednesday afternoon, but issued no statement and has no website for his campaign or law practice.
Ficker snipes at Brinkley
The sniping at Brinkley’s entry into the race began immediately, as announced candidate Robin Ficker accused Brinkley of being a carpetbagger because he no longer lives in the 6th Congressional District. Brinkley, a lifelong resident of the district, had his entire Senate district cut out of the 6th in the governor’s plan, which placed him in the 8th Congressional District. Candidates for Congress do not have to live in the district they represent.
Ficker wondered how many votes and committee hearings in Annapolis Brinkley would miss while campaigning for Congress. He also accused Brinkley of being “soft on illegal drugs” because of his support for the medical use of marijuana.