BALTIMORE (AP) — The co-owner of giant retailer Total Wine & More and a defense consultant will face off in November's general election for Maryland's only open congressional seat after winning their party's primaries Tuesday.
Businessman David Trone beat seven other candidates in the Democratic race. Amie Hoeber beat three other Republicans. In 2016, she lost in the general election to incumbent Rep. John Delaney, who isn't running for re-election this year. He's seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Two years ago, Trone broke a record as the biggest self-funder for a House candidate. He spent $13.4 million in a failed primary bid for the nearby 8th District congressional seat. He's reported spending about $10 million of his own money in this race, in the 6th district. Trone said he had a lot more time in this campaign to meet voters.
"Listening to folks and understanding the issues really paid dividends," Trone said.
He has highlighted the opioid crisis as a top concern and focused on job creation. He says his business created close to 7,000 jobs in 24 states.
Hoeber served as deputy undersecretary of the Army during former President Ronald Reagan's administration. She oversaw the Army's research and development programs and managed environmental cleanup of decommissioned bases. She's pointed to her defense expertise as a background to help steer defense work to the district, which includes western Maryland and portions of the Washington suburbs.
The district has received particular attention in recent years because of criticism about partisan gerrymandering. It's been cited as the reason Delaney was able to oust 10-term Republican Roscoe Bartlett in 2012. Democrats who controlled the governorship and legislature redrew the map in 2011 to put more Democrats in the district.
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to rule on a challenge to the redistricting process based on how the district's lines were drawn in 2011. The case, which was in a preliminary phase, will now go to trial.
The district is Maryland's most competitive. That, observers say, has attracted candidates who live outside the district — including Delaney and the last two Republican candidates.
The race is the one most likely to restore a female to Maryland's congressional delegation. Maryland was among leading states in electing women to political offices for decades, but the state had is first all-male congressional delegation in more than 40 years in 2017 after the retirement of former Sen. Barbara Mikulski — the longest-serving woman in the history of the U.S. Congress.