< back to election guide

Previously centered on Montgomery County, the new 8th District now includes large swaths of Frederick and Carroll counties. The incumbent is Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a Kensington Democrat.


George Gluck, Green

  • Party: Green Party
  • Age: 65
  • City of residence: Rockville
  • Occupation: Computer analyst
  • Family: Married, two children, five grandchildren
  • Campaign website: http://GeorgeGluck.com
  • Public campaign contact: VoteForGeorge@
    GeorgeGluck.com
  • Experience: Mathematician, Applied Mathematics Laboratory at the Naval Ship R&D Center, 1967-1975; Computer analyst, Defense and Health and Human Services departments, 1975-1980; director, Statistical Support Branch, Social Security Administration, 1981-1983; Sole proprietor, Free State Systems, 1984; volunteer, Clinton presidential campaign, 1992; Green Party member since 1996; Maryland representative to the 2000 National Green Party Convention in Denver; Montgomery County representative to the Maryland Green Party Coordinating Committee, 2010-2012; Green Party candidate for the Montgomery County Council, 2009 and 2010.
  • Education: B.S.,Brooklyn College, 1967; M.S., Johns Hopkins Evening College, 1969; Ph. D., University of Maryland, 1975; M.S.,George Washington University, 1981.
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

I think that President Regan had the right idea. In a June 6, 1985 speech at Northside High School in Atlanta, Georgia, he explained that tax loopholes allowing a millionaire to pay lower taxes than a bus driver were "crazy," because they allowed the "truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share."

In 1986, President Reagan signed into law the Tax Reform Act that ended the tax preference for capital gains and taxed all types of income at the same rates.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

The underlying assumption to this question is that the present pay freeze is "supportable." There already exist mechanisms to determine fair pay and benefits for federal employees. Is this pay freeze a result of using these mechanisms or just, as some claim, another example of an orchestrated "race to the bottom?"


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

Either healthcare for citizens of the United States is a privilege or a right. We have been treating it as a privilege, but I believe that the Physicians for a National Health Program have the correct idea: "The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $8,936 per capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves 50 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered. This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $400 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans."

As a step in the right direction, here in Baltimore, the Evergreen Project is developing "a self-sustaining ecosystem where the payor, the patient and the provider work in harmony as partners in improving outcomes and reducing costs."


Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

Why the emphasis on the construction industry? Had you used high-speed rail, rather than highways, as an example, I'd respond with an unqualified "yes." Programs to construct renewable sources of energy and a smart grid to better satisfy our energy needs should also attract more federal spending. There are other "industries" that warrant support as well: health delivery (as implied by the previous question), but also education and safety services (teachers, police, fire and emergency workers), which have recently seen unprecedented losses (627,000 public sector jobs) since June 2009.

In 2011, as a percentage of ever-growing profits, corporations paid out just 12.1 percent of their profits in taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office, less than they have in decades. If increased revenue resulting from an end to this Great Recession is insufficient, closing corporate tax loopholes is a potential source of added revenues.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

Did we propose such involvement as nuclear weapons were being developed by the Soviet Union, China, India, North Korea, or even Pakistan? What is different in Iran's case that would require U.S. military involvement? We are presently using other means to pressure Iran and I would need to see far more evidence of a threat to the U.S. before considering a military option.


Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

We in the 8th Congressional District of Maryland will be involved in a very unusual electoral experiment this November. The norm across the country is for congressional races to pit a Democrat against a Republican. We will have not three, but four candidates to choose from, so there will not be just one "opposite party." If the opposition is Libertarian, we could support each other in several arenas, such as on matters of avoiding foreign wars and promoting individual liberties. I believe that Democrats will gladly support a constitutional amendment indicating that money is not speech and corporations are not people.




Mark Grannis, Libertarian

  • Party: Libertarian
  • Age: 49
  • City of residence: Chevy Chase
  • Occupation: Lawyer and author
  • Family: Married, two children
  • Campaign website: www.GrannisFor
    Congress.org
  • Public campaign contact: AskMark@Grannis
    ForCongress.org
  • Experience: I have practiced law continuously since 1989, handling a wide variety of cases. From 1994-1996 I worked at the Federal Communications Commission, where I specialized in the regulation of communications satellites and other uses of radio spectrum that require international coordination. I now serve as managing partner of Wiltshire & Grannis LLP, a 30-lawyer firm that has quintupled in size since its founding in 1998. Earlier this year, I published my first book, Less We Can: The Case for Less Government, More Liberty, More Prosperity, and More Security.
  • Education: B.A., Georgetown University, 1985; J.D., University of Michigan Law School, 1988.
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

We need to replace our current tax system, which discourages hard work and productive investment, and distorts markets for housing, health care, energy, and more. However, until we achieve broader reform, I would freeze tax rates at current levels while eliminating over $400 billion per year in so-called "tax expenditures," the corporate welfare and other special-interest loopholes that career politicians love to hide in the tax code. This would help reduce the deficit while reducing government interference in the economy.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

I would support measures like freezes and increased contributions toward retirement wherever the relevant labor market indicates the federal government is currently paying more than it needs to for the people it wants to hire. In general, however, I believe the main problem with government is that we ask it to do too many things — not that we hire the wrong people or pay them too much. I would be much more inclined to terminate ineffective programs and close unnecessary agencies than to grandstand with fake austerity measures like pay freezes. Federal employees aren't really the problem and should not be demonized.


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

We need to get the government out of health care markets as quickly as possible, without breaking our existing commitments to seniors. Considering all of Medicare's current liabilities, the program is underfunded by $86 trillion (more than the entire output of our economy for six straight years). Even to keep it solvent long enough to phase it out responsibly requires drastic action. Premiums (which currently cover just 10 percent of benefits) must rise substantially. Wealthier people should be permitted to decline Medicare coverage without forfeiting their Social Security benefits. Within two or three years Medicare should be limited to issuing vouchers for beneficiaries to buy private insurance instead of maintaining the bureaucracy necessary to pay doctors directly. People younger than 45 should have their Medicare taxes diverted to Health Savings Accounts that they own. Any remaining government subsidies should be means-tested.


Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

No. We should only spend more on highways and infrastructure when we need more highways and infrastructure. The idea that spending more will "boost the construction industry" is largely false. That money will go to people who already have jobs, and it will be distributed according to political pull. Unemployed carpenters are not going to benefit from "stimulus" funds thrown at high-speed rail, or fat new highway paving contracts, or new engineering studies for bridges or overpasses.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

I would only support U.S. military action against Iran if Iran were attacking or threatening our nation. We manage to live in peace with lots of nuclear-armed nations with whom we have serious disagreements, and we can learn to live with a nuclear-armed Iran as well. (Is a nuclear Iran really worse than a nuclear Soviet Union was?) If we really want to slow nuclear proliferation, our foreign policy should respect the autonomy of smaller countries, instead of effectively telling them they have to sit at the kids' table until they learn how to nuke us.


Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

For a Libertarian, "opposite party" means both Democrats and Republicans, because they both support the use of force to achieve their goals whereas Libertarians try to rely on voluntary action and use force only to prevent violence, theft, or fraud. But Libertarians in Congress should be able to work productively with Democrats to shore up our civil liberties and rein in military spending, and should be able to work productively with Republicans to cut government spending and liberate our economy from over-regulation.





Chris Van Hollen, Democrat (incumbent)

  • Party: Democrat
  • Age: 53
  • City of residence: Kensington
  • Occupation: Congressman, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Family: Married, three children
  • Campaign website: www.vanhollen.org
  • Public campaign contact: (301) 942-3768
  • Experience: Member, U.S. House, 2003-present; member, Maryland state Senate 1994-2002; member, Maryland House of Delegates, 1991-94; Attorney in private practice, 1991-2001; board of directors, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington; honorary board member, National Capital Area Chapter of the American Red Cross
  • Education: B.A., Swarthmore College, 1982; M.A. Harvard University, 1985; J.D. Georgetown University, 1990.
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

I support a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes a combination of spending cuts and revenue. In my opinion, that increased revenue should ideally come from comprehensive tax reform that, among other things, closes loopholes and allows the Bush-era tax cuts for America's highest income earners to expire as already scheduled under current law.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

Federal employees have expressed a willingness to bear their fair share of deficit reduction so long as it is part of a plan where everyone participates. It is, however, unfair to single out federal employees as scapegoats as many of my colleagues have done in Congress. It seems like every time some members of Congress bring a bill to the floor, they use it as a vehicle to attack public servants by cutting their pensions or pay or benefits to pay for other spending items. Federal employees have already sacrificed $60 billion of salary over ten years as part of the two-year pay freeze. Starting in January 2013, new federal employees will contribute more to their pensions to offset the $15 billion cost of unemployment insurance extension legislation. Federal employees should not become a piggybank that members of Congress can use to finance unrelated initiatives.


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

The growing costs of health care pose long-term challenges that need to be addressed in a way that puts the budget on a sustainable path, reduces the cost of health care for families, and improves our competitiveness. In order to slow the rising costs in Medicare and Medicaid without rationing care, we must slow the rising costs of health care throughout the health care system. That is exactly what the Affordable Care Act (ACA) signed by President Obama two years ago will do when fully implemented over the next few years. This historic reform legislation includes virtually every cost containment provision recommended by health care experts. We must build on these reforms to reward efficient delivery of quality care. That means we must modernize the Medicare system by moving away from a strictly fee-for-service system to one that rewards the value of care rather than the volume of care.

We should also improve the coordination of care for individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. These individuals account for a disproportionate share of Medicare and Medicaid costs. They are more likely to live with multiple chronic conditions or disabilities. It is no surprise that these individuals make up a large share of Medicare and Medicaid spending, because they are, in general, sicker. However, some of these extra costs result from misaligned incentives between Medicare and Medicaid and a lack of coordination between the two. This is bad for the budget and it undermines the well-being of a vulnerable population. The Affordable Care Act begins to address these problems, but Congress can take further actions to boost these reform efforts.


Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

With 14.2 percent unemployment in the construction industry and the American Society of Civil Engineers giving America's infrastructure a "D" grade, we must prioritize investments to repair, rebuild, and modernize our nation's roads, bridges, and transit systems. I supported reauthorization of our transportation program this year and have called on my colleagues to pass the president's American Jobs Act to modernize transportation infrastructure and schools, both of which are fully paid-for. In the long term, we must work with stakeholders to pursue transportation financing options that will keep the Transportation Trust Fund sustainable for years to come.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

I support the position that President Obama has set forth with respect to our policy toward Iran. The president has stated it is the policy of the United States to prevent Iran from gaining a nuclear weapons capability. The president has also stated that the United States would like to resolve this issue diplomatically, but that all options, including military force, remain on the table.

Additionally, I am a cosponsor of H.R 1905 (the Iran Threat Reduction Act) and H. Res. 568. These bills reaffirm that it is in the national interest of United States to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and impose additional sanctions to accomplish that objective.


Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

Throughout my career in public service, I have remained committed to the principle of civil discourse and the pursuit of common ground for the benefit of the country. As the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee, I am pleased that Chairman Paul Ryan and I have maintained a civil and constructive relationship even as the committee has tackled contentious issues. In that spirit, Rep. Ryan and I coauthored H.R. 3521, the Expedited Line-Item Veto and Rescissions Act of 2011, to reduce unnecessary federal spending. It passed the House of Representative on a bipartisan vote of 254-173. Beyond that I believe the bipartisan work of the Simpson-Bowles Commission on Deficit Reduction provides a model for moving forward. While I don't support all of the commission's recommendations, I believe they provide a framework for tackling our budget challenges. I am also proud to work with colleagues across the aisle on some key initiatives. I am the chief cosponsor of a number of bipartisan bills, including the Platts-Van Hollen Whistleblower Protection Act and the enacted Pryce-Van Hollen Conquering Childhood Cancer Act. I also just introduced H.R. 6068, The Chesapeake Bay Watershed Fairness Act, with Rep. Robert Whitman and a bipartisan coalition of members to provide additional resources to clean up the Chesapeake Bay.




Ken Timmerman, Republican

  • Party: Republican
  • Age: 58 (Will be 59 on 11/4)
  • City of residence: Kensington
  • Occupation: Journalist, author
  • Family: Married, five children
  • Campaign website: TimmermanFor
    Congress.com
  • Public campaign contact: mecrow61@hotmail.com, 202-281-4302
  • Experience: I am an investigative reporter and author, and have spent the past thirty years as a war correspondent, an advocate of religious liberty, and an advocate for the taxpayers here in Maryland; past president of the Maryland Taxpayers Association. As the lead investigator for 9/11 families, I was instrumental in securing a decision by a U.S. District Court judge in December 2011 that Iran shared material responsibility with al Qaeda for the 9/11 attacks. As the president and CEO of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, I bring years of experience working with pro-freedom advocates on the ground inside Iran.
  • Education: B.A., Goddard College, 1973; M.A. Brown University, 1976
  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (not including minor traffic violations)? No
As you know, the Bush-era income tax cuts will expire at the end of this year. Do you support extending the cuts for all income levels, only on individual income under $200,000 (under $250,000 for families), or not at all? If you support an extension of some kind, should it be paid for?

We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. First and foremost, we must cut federal spending. We cannot continue racking up the trillion-dollar deficits of the past four years. I favor renewing the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in the short term and moving toward broader based tax reform as quickly as possible. I support the fair tax, which is predicated on the repeal of the 16th Amendment (the income tax). This would lift a minimum of $200 billion in burdensome compliance costs from the American taxpayer and eliminate the Internal Revenue Service as a tax police, without shifting the tax burden onto the poor and middle class. As an alternative, I favor responsible tax reform that would make our current system simpler, flatter, and fairer.


Is there any circumstance in which you would support extending a pay freeze on federal employees and/or requiring current federal employees to contribute more to their retirement plans? Please explain.

President Obama has piled up more debt in just three years than the first 41 presidents of the U.S. combined, all the while he is strangling Main Street with tax increases and regulations. We cannot solve our deficit crisis on the backs of the middle class, the federal work force, small business, and retirees. Nor can we sacrifice our national defense. I believe we need a new social compact that will include fundamental tax reform, entitlement reform, and health care reform, and that treats federal workers equitably and not as a special class.


The Congressional Budget Office projects spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs will more than double as a share of the nation's economy by 2037. What specific changes would you propose to reduce Medicare costs?

The CBO projections are a devastating indictment of Congress and its failure to reform mandatory spending. We are headed toward a fiscal train wreck without a fundamental restructuring of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. I support moving toward a mixed public/private Social Security system for younger workers. The left has demagogued this issue to the point where we are near collapse. The choice is not between keeping our social safety net as it currently is structured or moving to a voucher system: the choice is between some form of private insurance subsidy program and bankruptcy.


Would you support increased federal spending on highways and other infrastructure as a way to boost the construction industry? If so, how would you pay for it?

I do not believe in increasing any federal spending as a means of "boosting" the economy because federal stimulus programs do not work. After three years of the Obama stimulus packages, as of July 2012 we still had nominal unemployment over 8 percent for the third straight year and real unemployment at over 15 percent. Unemployment among black and Hispanic youths tops 25 percent. This is simply unacceptable. We need to get government out of the way so the private sector can create jobs, not dream up more utopian government programs and taxes.


Would you support U.S. military involvement in Iran if there were evidence that it was close to developing a nuclear weapon?

My opponent has been a supporter of the pro-Tehran National Iranian American Council since he first took office in 2003, whereas I have been endorsed because of my hands-on work with the pro-freedom movement in Iran by a team of nationally recognized experts headed by John Bolton, former Navy Secretary (and 9/11 commission member) John Lehman, and former CIA director Jim Woolsey.

The only reason we are even talking about using military force against the Islamic Republic of Iran is because the appeasement and negotiation policies of my opponent have failed, by allowing the Iranian regime to continue its deadly march to nuclear weapons. Instead of pursuing these failed policies and then asking our young men and women in uniform to pick up the pieces where our politicians have failed, I believe we have a moral duty to try an alternative policy that has a real chance of success that I have explained in detail on my campaign website.


Describe a specific policy you would pursue in Congress that would have support from members of the opposite party.

1) Changing U.S. policy from appeasement and negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran to a pro-freedom policy of supporting the legitimate aspirations of the people of Iran to select their form of government and their leaders by democratic means.

2) Entitlement reform. I believe it's time to set aside partisan demagoguing and look to the interest of future generations. We need to learn from our own mistakes and the mistakes of others and craft a social safety net that generates economic growth, job growth, and personal responsibility. What Democrat can face his supporters and say honestly that he favors greater dependence on government? I believe we can find 70 percent solutions if we stop demagoguing these issues.