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Maryland’s 3rd District: Retired Lt. Col. Charles Anthony challenges Rep. John Sarbanes for seat in Congress

Retired Lt. Col. Charles Anthony is running for Congress as a Republican against Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson. He is pictured with former Gov. Bob Ehrlich at a recent campaign fundraiser at the American Legion in Glen Burnie.
Retired Lt. Col. Charles Anthony is running for Congress as a Republican against Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Towson. He is pictured with former Gov. Bob Ehrlich at a recent campaign fundraiser at the American Legion in Glen Burnie. (Olivia Sanchez)

Marylanders in Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Howard and Montgomery counties and Baltimore City will have the choice to re-elect Rep. John Sarbanes, who has served in Congress for 13 years, or put forth retired Lt. Col. Charles Anthony, a Montgomery County Republican, to represent the 3rd District in Congress.

It’s a steep climb for Anthony, who has faced the Baltimore County Democrat before. Sarbanes won in 2018 with more than 202,000 votes, or 69% of the vote when the same pair faced off. Anthony received about 82,000 votes or 28% of the vote.

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Anthony spent several years in the Army Reserves, retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 1998.He then worked as a civilian administrator at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He is 67 and lives in Silver Spring.

Sarbanes has represented Maryland in Washington since 2007 and previously worked with the Maryland State Department of Education and as an attorney within the health care industry. Sarbanes, the son of former U.S. Sen Paul Sarbanes, is 58 and lives in Towson.

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Census data shows the district includes about 779,500 residents, and the Maryland State Board of Elections shows that nearly 500,000 were registered to vote as of 2018.

Voter registration data in the district as of 2018 shows that about 56% are registered Democrats, and about 24% are registered Republicans. About 97,000 voters identified as unaffiliated, and roughly 7,000 identified as Green Party, Libertarian or other.

In this year’s primary, Sarbanes received 82% of the Democratic vote, beating his two Democratic challengers. Anthony rose above four other Republican candidates. He had 41% of the vote.

The Capital spoke to both Anthony and Sarbanes about their stances on some key issues. Here’s what they said:

Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., asks questions to Richard Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, during House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing Thursday, May 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)
Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., asks questions to Richard Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, during House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing Thursday, May 14, 2020, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP) (Greg Nash/AP)

COVID-19 Response

Anthony supports a relief package that supports Americans whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19, and to local governments, said campaign manager Alexandra Levine. He generally aligns himself with President Donald Trump, and he supports reopening under public health guidelines to get as many people back to work as possible.

Levine said Anthony thinks reopening and getting Americans back to work can be done safely without causing more COVID-19 infections, so long as public health guidelines are in place.

Sarbanes has been working with his congressional colleagues on a second relief package entitled Heroes 2.0, which would provide relief to state and local governments, extend unemployment insurance, and support education and child care providers. The legislation would also include what Sarbanes said is a robust plan for testing, contact tracing and vaccine efforts.

Police reform

Anthony does not support any legislation that would take resources or funds away from law enforcement, Levine said. If anything, she said, Anthony supports more resources toward law enforcement. He respects the right to protest, but Levine said Anthony draws the line at anything destructive, including rioting or looting of any kind, particularly if it harms small business owners.

Sarbanes was one of 230 cosponsors on the George Floyd Policing Act of 2020, a piece of legislation named in honor of Floyd, who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis in May. The bill calls for greater accountability and transparency and creates the National Police Misconduct Registry. The bill passed in the House of Representatives but has yet to pass in the Senate.

Health care

If up to Anthony, the Affordable Care Act would undergo major reformed, but not scrapped altogether, Levine said. In a candidate questionnaire in May, Anthony said, “The major issue with the Affordable Care Act is that it forced health care providers to accept additional government scrutiny if they participated in the plan, making many providers avoid patients with benefits under the act out of concern over inadequacies in the program which became an unreasonable financial burden to their practice as a whole.”

Generally, Levine said, Anthony’s views also align with the president’s views on this topic, and he believes all Americans should have access to health care.

Sarbanes supports the Affordable Care Act and said Congress needs to build on it to ensure better care for Americans. In a candidate questionnaire, he wrote: “During the drafting of the legislation, I supported a public option to allow individuals to buy insurance directly from the government. I continue to support a public option, which would expand access and drive down costs. Ultimately, I support moving to a single-payer, Medicare-for-All system, which will guarantee coverage for all Americans and give the government greater latitude to lower health costs.”

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Income inequality and the economy

Anthony said information around income inequality in the United States is distorted. He blames the education system, rather than “some failing on the part of corporate America.” He proposed job training and life skills classes be offered in high schools to provide students with options other than college might help solve the problem.

He said Trump’s 2017 tax cuts relieved a burden on the working class “by putting more money in their weekly paychecks.”

Sarbanes said the key to addressing income inequality is for the government to respond to the needs of the average American “instead of (leaning) heavily in the direction of wealthy special interests.” He said the pandemic has further exposed inequality and is even more reason for comprehensive relief plans.

Sarbanes opposed the 2017 tax cuts and said the legislation didn’t benefit most middle-income Americans: “The tax cuts are not trickling down to workers, as was promised, but instead are going to executives.”

Climate change and the environment

Anthony said the way to address climate change is not through government intervention, but rather by finding ways to incentivize corporations to implement more climate-friendly practices. He said that “Only corporate innovation and creativity can find an effective solution to these problems.”

Anthony does not support the Green New Deal, a resolution proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, and Sen. Edward J. Markey, D-Massachusetts, calling for decreased use of fossil fuels in the United States and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions.

He said he thinks the bill would damage the economy without addressing the issues it sets out to address.

Sarbanes called climate change the “most persistent existential challenge to the human species," and said that after the pandemic subsides, the national focus should be turned to addressing it. He’s a co-sponsor of the resolution calling for the development of a Green New Deal and said, “We must take swift, meaningful action to meet our climate goals and protect the health and livelihoods of all Americans, especially our most vulnerable, for generations to come.”

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Absentee voting has begun in Maryland, and early voting at polling places will start Oct. 26. Election day is Nov. 3.

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Residents can text “VOTE” or “VOTA” to 77788 to be sent a link to register to vote online. The deadline to register to vote in Maryland is Monday, but there are also options for same-day registration at the polls during early voting and Election Day with the correct identification and materials.

Residents who are already registered to vote and would like to request an absentee ballot can text “VBM” or “VPC” to be sent a link to the online request form. The deadline to request an absentee or mail-in ballot is Oct. 20.

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