Democratic Rep. John Delaney is airing the first general election television ad in his bid for a second term, focusing on a bipartisan infrastructure bill that has become his signature legislative effort, campaign aides said Wednesday.
The Potomac lawmaker and former financier who beat incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett in 2012, will face Republican Dan Bongino in Maryland's 6th Congressional District. The district was redrawn by state lawmakers in Annapolis in 2011 to favor Democratic candidates.
"Here's one thing my father the electrician taught me -- it takes work to get things done," Delaney says in the 30-second spot, which plays up his centrist approach on many issues. "My infrastructure plan will rebuild our roads, bridges and create jobs -- without more taxes."
Bongino, a former Secret Service agent who mounted an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in 2012, has run an aggressive race. He has raised more money than any other congressional challenger in the state, published an autobiography and frequently appears on conservative media outlets.
But the new 6th district -- in which Delaney beat Bartlett by more than 20 percentage points in 2012 -- poses an uphill challenge for any Republican. That's part of the reason why the contest has received so little attention from outside conservative groups eager to expand the GOP's majority next year.
Another reason is that Delaney, who Roll Call recently named the third-richest member of Congress, has demonstrated a willingness to invest heavily in his own campaign, potentially blunting the impact of outside money. Delaney, who in 2000 founded a bank called CapitalSource, spent $2.3 million on the 2012 election.
He also raised significant sums from Democratic donors.
Still, the ad could raise questions about whether Bongino is making some progress against an incumbent who has widely been considered safe. Delaney is running the advertisement on WHAG-TV in Hagerstown but not in the pricey Washington, D.C., broadcast market, Federal Communications Commission records show. The campaign said the ad is running district-wide on cable.
Delaney ran a similar ad ahead of the state's June 24 primary even though he faced no opponent in the contest.
Neither campaign has been willing to discuss internal polling. No public polls have been conducted.
Delaney's infrastructure bill would allow companies to repatriate a portion of their overseas cash, tax free, if they make investments in infrastructure. He has picked up dozens of co-sponsors -- an equal number of Democrats and Republicans -- and considerable media attention for the measure, though it has failed to advance.
The proposal has been criticized by liberal groups and some labor unions, which has only served to reinforce Delaney's position as a centrist in a district that includes a number of GOP strongholds. Delaney, who has openly feuded with Democratic Gov. Martin O'Malley, also faced criticism from the left recently for teaming up with Rep. Tom Cole -- an Oklahoma Republican and close ally to House Speaker John Boehner -- on a bill to extend Social Security's solvency.
The 6th District includes portions of Democrat-heavy Montgomery County as well as Western Maryland, which is far more Republican than Maryland as a whole.