WASHINGTON — Endorsements are hot commodities in the very competitive 6th Congressional District, but none is bigger than the one just snagged by Democrat John Delaney: former President Bill Clinton.
In a statement released Monday, the former president called Delaney “a lifelong Democrat who has real life job creation experience .... His commitment to equality, economic growth and fairness will make him an effective advocate for the middle class, a strong advocate for job creation, and a trusted ally for reform.”
The “lifelong Democrat” backing from Clinton might help deflect criticism of Delaney’s contributions to Republican Rep. Andy Harris, who knocked off Democratic incumbent Rep. Frank Kratovil in the last election.
Justin Schall, Delaney’s campaign manager said the donation “had nothing to do with ideology ... they’re personal friends.”
Delaney’s campaign said he raised more than $800,000 for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008 and contributed $52,000 to the Maryland Democratic Party. Delaney also has the backing of Clinton’s former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, who has voiced commercials for the campaign, and former Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan.
Two hours after Delaney’s announcement, Democratic candidate Rob Garagiola announced his endorsement by the Sierra Club.
“Rob Garagiola has been a champion for creating green jobs and building a renewable energy industry in our state. He’s been a strong defender of our environment and protecting our natural resources,” David O”Leary, chairman of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.
Garagiola, Maryland Senate majority leader, has a long list of endorsements from elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-St. Mary’s, and Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown. Many Maryland unions and activist organizations have also pledged their support.
Garagiola and Delaney’s battle for the Democratic nomination has been an aggressive one. After redistricting, the seat held by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, has become much more competitive.
“One of the most popular Democrats in the country just endorsed John Delaney to be the next congressman because President Clinton knows how important Maryland’s 6th is to winning back the House,” Schall said.
But don't count out Democratic candidate Dr. Milad Pooran, who recently received endorsements from former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz.
Garagiola, once seen as the clear front-runner for the Democrats, now faces an even tougher primary said political science professor Todd Eberly of St. Mary's College of Maryland.
“It’s no longer certain that he’ll win,” Eberly said.