Freshman Del. Joe Vogel (D-Dist. 17) has announced he will run for Maryland congressional District 6 after its current representative, Democrat David Trone, said he would be running for U.S. Senate in a bid to succeed Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.).
Vogel, 26, appears to be the first announced candidate of either major political party in the race.
“I’m running for Congress because the challenges we’re facing just can’t wait. When it comes to defending our democracy, protecting our fundamental freedoms, and keeping kids safe, it’s clear that the politics of old just aren’t working,” Vogel said in a press release announcing his campaign Monday morning.
MoCo360 first reported last week that Vogel had filed the Vogel for Congress campaign with the Federal Election Commission, and was prepared to make an announcement, according to a source close to the campaign. The source also shared that Vogel is staffing an experienced campaign, including staffers who worked on President Joe Biden’s campaign.
Cardin announced last week he would not seek reelection. Trone’s campaign leaves the field open for candidates for that congressional seat.
Vogel currently represents parts of Rockville and Gaithersburg in the Maryland General Assembly and recently finished his first legislative session. He is among the first members of Gen-Z elected to the State House.
“Right now, the status quo hurts the student in Germantown as much as it hurts the small business owner in Frederick as much as it hurts the mother in Hagerstown as much as it hurts the family farmer in Cumberland,” Vogel said in the campaign press release. “The generational challenges we face call for a new generation of proven problem solvers who are ready to get the job done—and I’m proud to be in this fight as we work to build a better future for all Marylanders.”
Vogel is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and education and revenues subcommittees. This session, several pieces of legislation he sponsored passed, including a bill establishing a Commission on Hate Crime Response and Prevention, and the Josh Siems Act, which will require stronger and increased fentanyl testing for overdose patients in Maryland hospitals.
Trone is the multimillionaire co-owner of Total Wine & More, which gives him the ability to self-fund, as he did in his campaign for Maryland Congressional District 6. Vogel and other Democratic candidates will likely have a tougher time without that money in a district that includes Frederick County and isn’t solidly blue.
Trone narrowly beat then-Del. Neil Parrott (R-2A) in the 2022 race for the congressional seat in what was considered to be the state’s most competitive congressional race last year, thanks largely to redistricting.
Trone and Parrott had previously faced off in 2020, when Trone handily won, 59% to 39%. But last year, they were running in a district dramatically altered by a redistricting plan enacted by the Maryland General Assembly—after an earlier plan had been rejected by a state judge, ruling in response to a lawsuit brought by Parrott and several other plaintiffs.
The final redistricting plan removed about 100,000 voters from Democratic-dominated Montgomery County, leaving about 150,000 6th District voters in the northern and western portions of the county. At the same time, it added about 100,000 voters from Republican areas of politically purple Frederick County to the 6th–transforming a reliably Democratic congressional district into one assessed by the political website 538.com as leaning Republican by a single percentage point.
The politically diverse district extends nearly 200 miles west from Gaithersburg to the edge of Maryland’s Panhandle, and includes three strongly Republican counties–Allegany, Garrett and Washington–in addition to all of Frederick County and a portion of Montgomery.
Other names that have been mentioned by political observers as potential Democratic candidates for Trone’s seat are Del. Lesley J. Lopez (D-Dist. 39); former Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner (D); state Sen. Brian J. Feldman (D-Dist. 15); and April McClain-Delaney, a U.S. Commerce Department official and wife of former Rep. John Delaney (D-Dist. 6), who held the seat before Trone.
Potential Republican candidates for the seat include Parrott, House Minority Leader Del. Jason Buckel (R-Dist. 1b) and 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox, a former delegate who ran unsuccessfully for Maryland Congressional District 6 in 2016.