Since joining the race for the 6th District congressional seat, Del. Joe Vogel (D-Dist. 17) has raised almost double the amount of campaign donations of his leading Republican opponent and over double the amount of his closest Democratic competitor.
When Democrat David Trone announced his intent to run for Ben Cardin’s U.S. Senate seat in early May, a flurry of local candidates on both sides of the aisle began signaling their desire to take over for Trone. Vogel filed his intent to run just hours after Trone’s announcement and has raised about $115,950 in campaign donations as of June 30, according to data made public by the Federal Election Commission (FEC).
“I’m humbled by the support we’ve received,” Vogel wrote to MoCo360 via text. “Our campaign is funded by donors in all five counties of the 6th Congressional District. We’re just getting started and are working hard to build the strong grassroots fundraising movement we need to win this primary—and to keep this seat blue next November.”
Maryland’s 6th congressional district is made up of Garrett, Allegany and Washington counties as well as parts of Montgomery and Frederick counties. Since taking office in January, Vogel has introduced bills targeted at addressing the opioid crisis, mental health, LGBTQ+ equality and gun violence. The majority of Vogel’s current campaign funds come from individual contributors—$91,649 in total—with an additional $24,300 coming from left-leaning political action committees (PACs) such as the LGBTQ+-rights focused Equality PAC and the youth-centered Voters of Tomorrow.
Vogel’s leading Democratic opponent is Del. Lesley Lopez (Dist. 39), who has served in the Maryland General Assembly since 2018 representing parts of Germantown and Montgomery Village. Prior to taking office, Lopez’s work history included broadcast journalism and public education.
Lopez filed her intent to run for the congressional seat with the FEC on June 1 and has raised $51,051 as of June 30, according to government data—more than $18,921 of which comes from individual contributions made by state and local officials, including $5,000 from Del. Sara Love (D-Dist. 16).
Other notable campaign contributors include Dels. Vaughn Stewart (D-Dist. 19), Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Dist. 20), Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Dist. 17) and Montgomery County Council member Dawn Luedtke (D-Dist. 7).
Other Democratic challengers who have filed for the seat include economist Stephen McDow, former public school teacher George Gluck, LGBTQ+ military veteran Mia Mason, political consultant Destiny Drake West and, most recently, Hagerstown mayor Tekesha Martinez.
On the other side of the aisle, Republican and Air Force veteran Mariela Roca leads the charge for Trone’s seat, raising more than $67,711 in campaign funds as of June 30, government data shows. Roca first filed with the FEC signaling her intent to run on April 6.
Former Del. Neil Parrott (R-2A), who ran against Trone twice previously for the same seat without success, recently formed a committee to explore potentially running a third time. The committee ended June with over $27,117 in funds, according to the FEC.
Several other Republican hopefuls have filed congressional campaigns with the FEC for Trone’s seat, including former special education teacher Brenda Thiam, grocery store clerk Todd Puglisi and former state trooper Chris Hyser. Government data shows Hyser raising $16,595 in campaign funds as of June 30. The vast majority of that amount—all but about $565—were personal loans from Hyser.
For a brief moment former Del. Dan Cox (R) was believed to have entered the race as well, based on a filing made with the FEC on July 3. However, Cox quickly took to Twitter to dispel the notion, calling the filing “fake” and alleging campaign filing fraud. At the time of the allegedly fraudulent filing, Vogel issued a statement denouncing Cox for his ties to the Proud Boys and Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, calling him a “QAnon Whack Job”—an insult first hurled at Cox by former Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
While Vogel said he’s encouraged by the amount of financial support his campaign has received so far from voters across the county, he said he recognizes there’s still much more work to be done if he’s going to secure a seat at the congressional table.
“Money alone won’t win this election,” he told MoCo360, “which is why I’m spending my time meeting with Marylanders in every corner of this district, listening and earning their trust.”