Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) faced off against his Republican District 8 challenger in an at-times testy debate Friday at a senior community in Gaithersburg.
“I’ve never seen so much misinformation in so little time,” Van Hollen said of Republican Ken Timmerman’s remarks.
Timmerman, a Kensington investigative journalist, is hoping to unseat the five-term incumbent and leader in the Democratic party on the strength of rural voters new to the reshaped district.
In a hour-long forum, Timmerman accused Van Hollen of lying about job growth, contributing to a federal government deficit that has become a “disgrace,” and imposing burdensome regulations on healthcare by supporting the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as “Obamacare.”
“You can not ram this kind of compromise down the throats of the people,” Timmerman said of the Affordable Care Act. He said his first vote, if elected, would be to repeal the law.
Van Hollen responded by saying that would leave many aged 18 to 26 without healthcare, something that could “bankrupt” their families if they were to need medical care.
Timmerman emphasized his campaign work in rural Frederick and Carroll Counties, new to the 8th District, and criticized Van Hollen for proposing a sequestration alternative that would cut direct aid to farmers.
Van Hollen said the cuts in direct aid to farmers would not affect many Marylanders and was something that had bipartisan support.
“I have spent most of my life investigating career politicians, like my opponent,” Timmerman said in his opening remarks. “Democrats have been in control of the House since January 2007. They did absolutely nothing to avert the crisis that hit us that June and did nothing to make things right. They had their chance. It’s time for a change.”
As they shook hands after the forum, Van Hollen appeared to ask Timmerman to “stop lying.” Timmerman responded by telling Van Hollen to “show up,” a theme the Republican has been harping on in campaign mailers.
The forum was organized by the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association and included a District 6 portion before Van Hollen and Timmerman squared off. Incumbent Rep. Roscoe Bartlett (R) did not attend to take audience questions with his Democratic challenger, financier John Delaney.