Trone hints he’s trying to recruit ex-Frederick County Executive Gardner into Dist. 6 race to succeed him
U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Potomac)–who is giving up his 6th District congressional seat to run for U.S. Senate–strongly hinted Monday that he is seeking to lure former Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner into the contest to succeed him.
Speaking to the District 18 Democratic Breakfast Club in Silver Spring and not mentioning Gardner by name, Trone declared that “we’ve got to get a good candidate out there” in District 6, adding, “There’s a woman I’m working with who will hopefully step up and run–and that we’ll help support and have a strong candidate for western Maryland.”
District 6, which extends 200 miles from Montgomery County to encompass western Maryland, was redrawn in the 2022 redistricting to become more politically competitive. “[Democrats] got to hold that seat,” Trone said.
Asked afterward whether his remarks indicated that he was trying to recruit Gardner to run to succeed him, Trone declined to comment.
Sources familiar with Trone’s thinking–who requested anonymity to speak frankly–said Trone is indeed hoping to lure Gardner into the contest for the Democratic nomination. His efforts mirror a months-long attempt by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the political arm of the U.S. House Democratic Caucus, to woo Gardner.
With the Feb. 9 filing deadline less than three months away, Gardner–who endorsed Trone in the Senate race–has said little publicly about the District 6 contest. She did not return a call from MoCo360 on Tuesday.
Multiple sources have indicated Gardner, who turned 67 in September, is concerned privately about balancing service in Congress with responsibility for the care of elderly parents.
There are currently no women in the 10-member Maryland congressional delegation. Trone –whose chief opponent for the Democratic Senate nod is Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks–has sought to defuse this issue politically by saying he’d like to see a woman succeed him in the House. But, until now, he hasn’t indicated a preference for a particular candidate.
There are currently 10 contenders seeking the District 6 Democratic nomination, with attorney and former Commerce Department official April McClain Delaney of Potomac – whose husband, ex-Rep. John Delaney, was Trone’s immediate predecessor – recently announcing a run. She’s among five Democratic women now in the race.
Although John Delaney’s status as a multimillionaire businessman is likely to ensure April McClain Delaney will have ample campaign resources, party insiders have privately questioned the strength of McClain Delaney’s ties to District 6. Gardner, prior to two terms as county executive, spent 12 years on the board of commissioners that formerly ran Frederick County.
McClain Delaney’s Potomac residence is located in neighboring District 8. While her husband and Trone also resided in District 8 during their congressional tenures, both lived within blocks of District 6 under the old boundaries.
But redistricting in the wake of the 2020 census took Potomac out of District 6, with the boundaries of the latter moved north to Gaithersburg—more than 10 miles from McClain Delaney’s residence.
Political demographics would appear to give Gardner an advantage if she runs. State Board of Elections data shows 510,000 District 6 voters, with nearly 40% residing in Gardner’s Frederick County base, as compared to about 30% who live in Montgomery County.
And, although registered Democrats in Montgomery County outnumber Frederick County Democrats by 83,500 to 77,000, nine Montgomery-based candidates are competing for the District 6 Democratic nod—while Gardner would have the party base in Frederick virtually all to herself.
County Councilmember Stewart, Del. Charkoudian latest MoCo officials to endorse Alsobrooks
On Tuesday, District 4 County Councilmember Kate Stewart and District 20 state Del. Lorig Charkoudian–both Takoma Park residents–became the latest Montgomery County elected officials to endorse Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks in the race for the Democratic nomination for the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Baltimore).
Charkoudian’s endorsement gives Alsobrooks the backing of 15 members of Montgomery County’s 35-member state legislative delegation, as compared to 10 legislators who are backing Montgomery-based U.S. Rep. David Trone of Potomac.
“I am supporting Angela because as a working mother to a teenaged daughter and the daughter of aging parents, she understands the everyday kitchen table issues that many working families are facing,” Charkoudian said in a press release from the Alsobrooks campaign. Charkoudian is the third legislator from Silver Spring/Takoma Park-based District 20 to endorse Alsobrooks, joining Sen. Will Smith and Del. Jheanelle Wilkins.
Stewart becomes the third member of the 11-person County Council to back Alsobrooks, joining District 7 Councilmember Dawn Luedtke of Ashton and at-large Councilmember Will Jawando of Silver Spring–who himself was a candidate for the Senate nomination until he dropped out last month.
In the release from the Alsobrooks campaign, Stewart – a former Takoma Park mayor who currently chairs the board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments – declared that Alsobrooks “has the experience, knowledge and proven track record of getting things done,” adding, “Most importantly, she leads with compassion and we need that now more than ever.”
Making his 22nd run for elected office, Robin Ficker launches TV ad campaign
Over the past half-century, Republican Robin Ficker has mounted 21 previous campaigns for federal, state or Montgomery County office. Ficker, a Boyds resident has won just once, serving one term in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1979-1983.
But, at age 80, Ficker continues to pursue a return to public office. This year, he is running for a 22nd time–making his second bid for U.S. Senate after a previous bid for that office in 2000. Last week, he began running paid television ads as one of five candidates who have filed for the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Baltimore).
“I’ve had a lot of political success at the grassroots level, and now I am looking to turn this into a successful campaign,” declared Ficker – who prefers to talk highlight his role in passing a couple of high-profile ballot initiatives rather than his track record in running for office. Montgomery County charter provisions limiting property tax increases without a unanimous County Council vote, and imposing a three-term limit on the county executive as well as council members, resulted from measures for which Ficker collected signatures to place on the ballot.
In a press release announcing the TV ad buy, Ficker asserted “I am running a serious, professional campaign to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate.”
Ficker, a real estate broker and disbarred attorney (he was disbarred in 2022 by the Maryland Attorney Grievance Commission after two prior suspensions of his law license) plans to run ads through Christmas in the Baltimore TV market as well as in the Salisbury area on the Lower Eastern Shore. No plans were announced to run TV ads in the pricier Washington, D.C. market.
“Establishment politicians fail us time and time again,” Ficker declared in his initial ad. “Our border is wide open, and fentanyl is flooding our town. Reckless spending and inflation are crushing our families. Maryland deserves better. That’s why I’m running…because when we the people make our voices heard, there’s nothing we can’t do.”
The Ficker campaign did not say how much it plans to spend on the TV ad effort. As of Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission public access website showed Ficker making a $12,400 purchase on a Comcast cable system in the Baltimore area.
Federal Election Commission reports through the third quarter of the year show Ficker so far raising and spending nearly $210,000 on his Senate run, all but about $1,700 coming from loans he made to himself.
Ficker pumped nearly $1.2 million in personal assets into a 2022 run for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, capturing 2.8% of the vote. Four years earlier, he was the GOP nominee for Montgomery County executive, finishing third in a three-way general election with about 16% of the vote.