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Then Del. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery County) speaks with a colleague before a hearing on a statewide smoking ban for public areas. KIM HAIRSTON/BALTIMORE SUN STAFF. KMH_0004.
Then Del. Roger Manno (D-Montgomery County) speaks with a colleague before a hearing on a statewide smoking ban for public areas. KIM HAIRSTON/BALTIMORE SUN STAFF. KMH_0004. (KIM HAIRSTON / Baltimore Sun)

State Sen. Roger Manno won the endorsement Thursday of Maryland Working Families in his bid for the 6th Congressional District, the latest indication he is locking down progressive support in the closely watched federal race.

The liberal group, an early supporter of paid sick leave in Annapolis and a higher minimum wage, announced its endorsement weeks after another left-leaning group — Progressive Maryland — said it will back Manno for the seat being left open by Rep. John Delaney.

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“We decided to go with Roger because he has been an ally and a champion for working families for his entire tenure in the Maryland Senate,” said Maryland Working Families Executive Director Charly Carter. “It was a clear choice.”

It’s not clear that either group will have a major influence on the election. The Working Families super PAC spent just under $400,000 on federal candidates nationwide in the 2016 election. But it is an indication of progressive support at a time when the party has drifted left.

Manno, a 51-year-old attorney and former Capitol Hill aide, is running in a crowded Democratic primary that also includes businessman David Trone, Del. Aruna Miller, aerospace executive Christopher Hearsey, pediatrician Nadia Hashimi, businessman Chris Graves, retired economist George English and Andrew Duck, the Democratic nominee for the 6th District in 2010.

Delaney, who is running for president, took a centrist approach in the district, which was redrawn in 2011 to flip the seat from Republican to Democrat. Still, Delaney barely won reelection in the 2014 midterm. The district includes Democratic enclaves in Montgomery and Frederick counties as well as heavily Republican Western Maryland.

Manno, who was elected to the Senate in 2010 and is now the majority whip, has scooped up endorsements from labor groups in the district — many of whom opposed Delaney. He had a rocky fundraising quarter at the end of last year, raising $83,055 from contributors, compared with just over $200,000 in the prior quarter.

Carter said she doesn’t believe that will present a problem, and she took a dig at Trone, who is mostly self-financing his campaign.

“Unless you’re David Trone, everybody is having trouble raising money in Maryland,” Carter said.

“It's tough out here for Marylanders just trying to make it,” Manno said in a statement. “They deserve strong leaders who will roll up their sleeves and get to work for good jobs, benefits, and a level playing field for everyone.”

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