Frederick County Democrat and economist Stephen McDow is running for the Maryland 6th Congressional District 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.).
“This district encompasses more rural, agricultural areas as well as more populated, rural areas. It encompasses professionals, entrepreneurs, small businesses, working people, farmers. It embodies the top 1% of individuals in our country and also individuals that are within the bottom 1%,” McDow told MoCo360. The district includes part of Montgomery County and all of Garrett, Allegany, Frederick and Washington counties.
“And if you can respond with a platform that resonates with all those different demographics, then you not only know how America works, but you also understand the diversity that is America. Maryland District 6 represents that very well,” McDow saod.
McDow runs McDow International Enterprises, where he works with business owners and entrepreneurs. He previously served as the director of membership for the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce. He said he’s passionate about working with a variety of business owners, including farmers and people working in more rural areas of the district.
“We see the politics of resentment coming from both rural and urban areas, and it’s because we won’t sit and listen to one another. We are talking at each other, we’re shouting at each other, but we’re not having informative conversations,” McDow said. “I would like to be that federal partner that helps bring vital resources back to the [district] that will help individuals in that community be successful.”
McDow said his key campaign issues are mental health, science and technology innovation, entrepreneurship, apprenticeships and trades, agriculture, and the circular economy.
Del. Lesley Lopez (D-Dist. 39) and Del. Joe Vogel (D-Dist. 17) also recently launched campaigns for the seat. Lopez currently represents parts of Germantown and Montgomery Village in the Maryland General Assembly. Vogel represents parts of Rockville and Gaithersburg.
Frederick County Republican Mariela Roca, an Air Force veteran, is also running for the seat.
Other names of potential candidates floated by political observers include state Sen. Brian Feldman (D-Dist. 15), Del. Lily Qi (D-Dist. 15), former Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, April McClain-Delaney, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information for the U.S. Department of Commerce and wife of John Delaney, who previously held the congressional seat.
A spokesperson for Feldman told MoCo360 he is “still pondering” the idea of running.
Former Del. Neil Parrott (R-2A) who previously ran against Trone for the seat has also been named as a potential contender on the Republican side, as well as House Minority Leader Del. Jason Buckel (R-Dist. 1B) and Dan Cox (R), 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee.
Cardin announced last month that he would not seek reelection. Trone’s campaign leaves the field open for candidates for that congressional seat.
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. Lopez, 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. Parrott in the 2022 race for the congressional seat in what was considered to be the state’s most competitive congressional race, thanks largely to redistricting.
Trone and Parrott 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.