Hagerstown Mayor Tekesha Martinez (D) 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.).
Martinez announced her candidacy in a press release and video July 12.
“I’m running for Congress to play a role in mediating our national divides, to bring a fresh perspective and new voice to the table, to ensure that we can control our own bodies and our own futures, without question,” Martinez said in the video.
According to a campaign press release, Martinez was born in Hagerstown, grew up in the foster care system and is the mother of five children. At one point she was homeless, and she went on to become a trained community mediator.
Martinez told MoCo360 her lived experience and her background as a community mediator would make her an accessible representative for constituents.
“I make sure all kinds of people are heard and understood. I make sure my language is not divisive,” Martinez said. “I am a present person and I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I’m not a box checker. I want to build relationships.”
Martinez was elected to the Hagerstown City Council in 2020 and was named mayor in February after the incumbent Emily Keller took a position in Gov. Wes Moore’s (D) office, the Herald-Mail reported. Hagerstown’s city charter dictates that members of the council vote to select the mayor. Martinez is the city’s first Black mayor.
Martinez said her priorities include public safety, growing the local economy, ending homelessness, bolstering mental illness recovery programs and public education.
“We have a very interesting region, a different region,” Martinez said of the district, mentioning rural areas and “fast-growing and urban areas.”
“I want to reach all of the people in our district, from the heart of Montgomery County to the tip of Garrett County.”
Martinez joins a growing field of candidates. State delegates Lesley Lopez (D-Dist. 39) and 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.
On the Republican side, Frederick County Republican Mariela Roca, an Air Force veteran, is also running for the seat, and Del. Neil Parrott (R-2A) has formed an exploratory committee for a third run for the seat, but is not officially announcing a campaign yet.
Other names of potential candidates floated by political observers include state Sen. Brian Feldman (D-Dist. 15), Del. Lily Qi (D-Dist. 15) and 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, has also been mentioned as a potential candidate.
A spokesperson for Feldman told MoCo360 last month he is “still pondering” the idea of running.
House Minority Leader Del. Jason Buckel (R-Dist. 1B) and Dan Cox (R), 2022 GOP gubernatorial nominee, have also been named as potential contenders on the Republican side.
Earlier this month, official paperwork was filed with the Federal Election Committee entering Cox into the race for the 6th District congressional seat—but Cox says he did not submit it, alleging fraud.