Democratic candidate John Delaney, who is running in Western Maryland's competitive 6th Congressional District, failed to vote in two recent elections -- one in 2006 and another in 2010 -- an absence his Republican opponent said should raise a red flag with voters in this year's election.
Montgomery County voting records show that Delaney, a Potomac businessman who is making his first run for political office this year, did not cast a ballot in the 2006 general election, in which Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley unseated incumbent Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. He also did not vote in the 2010 primary election, which featured a competitive House of Delegates Democratic race in his district.
Delaney is running against Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.
"Congressman Bartlett takes his basic civic duty of voting very seriously," Bartlett campaign aide Ted Dacey said in a statement. "John Delaney's failure to vote in important elections raises a critical question: if John Delaney can't be bothered to vote for himself, how can Maryland families ever trust him to vote for them?"
Though the issue is not likely to influence many voters -- Delaney has voted in every other election since 2004 -- it does give the Bartlett campaign an opening to raise another voting issue Delaney faced during the primary: The new congressional maps drawn by Annapolis last year put Delaney outside the district he is seeking to claim by about two-tenths of a mile.
"This was the exception, not the rule, and John's voting history shows that," Delaney campaign manger Justin Schall said in a statement about the missed votes. "This issue is a distraction from the votes that really matter. The 6th District needs a congressman focused on jobs instead of Bartlett who has voted for years to privatize Social Security and to end Medicare as we know it."
Bartlett is now widely considered an underdog in the district, portions of which he has represented for 20 years, though there has been no independent polling in the district. Thousands of new Democratic voters were drawn into the 6th District by O'Malley and legislative leaders in Annapolis last year.