Republican Amie Hoeber and Democrat David Trone will face off in November for Maryland’s only open House seat — a race likely to be one of the most expensive in the country.
Both wealthy candidates are making their second runs for Congress in the expensive Washington television market. They’ll be competing in the 6th Congressional District, which stretches from Montgomery County up to Frederick and across Western Maryland.
Trone, a liquor magnate, has contributed more than $10 million to his own campaign, after giving himself $13.4 million for his 2016 bid in the neighboring 8th Congressional District. He lost to eventual Rep. Jamie Raskin in the Democratic primary.
Hoeber, a former Reagan administration official, was the Republican nominee in the 6th District in 2016. Maryland USA, a super PAC funded largely by her husband, Mark Epstein, invested about $3.2 million in that race. She lost to Democratic Rep. John Delaney by 16 percentage points in a high-turnout presidential election year.
Delaney is now running for president, leaving the seat open.
Trone lives in the 8th District, as do Hoeber and Delaney. Congressional candidates are not required to live in the district they represent.
Elsewhere in Maryland, the seven congressmen running for reelection all coasted to primary victories.
Democratic Rep. Elijah E. Cummings will face Republican challenger Richmond Davis in the November election. Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes will face Republican Charles Anthony. Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger will face Republican Liz Matory. Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown will face Republican George McDermott. Raskin will face Republican John Walsh. Democratic Rep. Steny H. Hoyer will face William A. Devine III.
Republican Rep. Andy Harris will face Democrat Jesse Colvin.
Trone celebrated his primary victory in Montgomery County.
“Votes are not cast for a person,” he told supporters. “Votes are really cast for values.”
He said those values include improving the education system and providing more assistance to curb opioid addiction. Trone’s 24-year-old nephew died of a fentanyl overdose; he has called the opioid epidemic “the most important issue facing the country today.”
Hoeber said she was “delighted” with her primary victory.
“I won every county,” she said. “I’m looking forward to the next phase.”
During the campaign, she described herself during the primary campaign as “a moderate Republican — sufficiently independent indeed that I'm not an automatic partisan. I consider myself practical."
She said she aligned politically with Gov. Larry Hogan.
"I think he's done a superb job for four years and I think the state is in much better share," she said.
Delaney appeared at Trone’s victory party.
“I need you to fight for six more months,” he told supporters. “Do we want a candidate who is going to hold our president accountable? Or do we want somebody who is going to support that president?”
The 6th District was the subject of a recent Supreme Court case brought by Republican voters, who said the boundaries set by Democrats deprived them of their First Amendment rights. Gov. Martin O’Malley and Democratic leaders in the General Assembly redrew the district after the 2010 census to oust longtime Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.
The high court declined the plaintiffs’ request to throw the map out.
Hoeber is seeking to join Maryland’s all-male congressional delegation. The retirement of Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski in 2016 and the departure of Rep. Donna F. Edwards to run for Mikulski’s seat left the delegation without a woman for the first time in more than 50 years.
Hoeber reported raising $272,000 through June 6 — $114,000 of it self-donated.
In the 2016 election, she said, “we put about 30,000 miles on the car.”
Now, she said, “we’re at 15 now and I would expect we’d go to 30,000 or exceed it.”
She said she didn’t know if her husband’s super PAC would contribute again.