Garagiola. Photo by chesapeakeclimate on Flickr.

The battle for the Democratic nomination in Maryland’s new 6th Congress­ional district is now a heated race. In 2010 we endorsed State Senator Rob Garagiola for his current seat, and we endorse Garagiola again in this race based on his experience and his consistent support for smart growth and sustainable development.

The General Assembly redrew the district in 2011 to try to unseat Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, a Republican who has represented the district in Congress since 1993.

The new district gains 350,000 western Montgomery residents, while losing 360,000 from northern Frederick, Carroll, Baltimore, and Harford counties. About 380,000 residents of western Maryland and southern Frederick County remain in the district.

Although Garagiola has been the frontrunner since before redistricting, the Democratic primary race is now competitive with the entry of John Delaney, a banker from Potomac.

Garagiola continues to represent the values of smart growth and sustainable policies in Annapolis, most recently as State Senate majority leader. In 2006, Garagiola prevented the closure of 4 MARC stations, including 2 in his district. He established and serves on the blue ribbon commission which came up with transportation funding recommen­dations last year, including increasing the gas tax.

Garagiola has sponsored legislation establishing programs to encourage the use of solar energy and clean energy.  He also supports the Corridor Cities Transitway, the Purple Line, and Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve.

Many of his ideas are directly in line with policies advocated on Greater Greater Washington. He’s also been endorsed by the League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club, as well as MoveOn.org and labor unions.

In contrast, Delaney has never run for public office, does not live in the new district, and has contributed $2,400 to Andy Harris, the Republican candidate who defeated one-term Democratic Congressman Frank Kratovil in Maryland 1st district in 2010.

While being or supporting a Republican does not disqualify anyone from receiving Greater Greater Washington’s endorsement and we have endorsed Republicans in local races, the GOP leadership in Congress has lately demonstrated a strong hostility to urban living and any policies which help urban areas.

Delaney has, however, received two major endorsements. First, the Washington Post endorsed him last week, citing his business experience (and Garagiola’s sponsorship of legislation supported by teachers’ unions). Second, Bill Clinton endorsed him, after Delaney raised more than $800,000 for Hillary Clinton in the 2008 presidential race.

Based on Garagiola’s record of advancing smart growth and sustainable policies, and Delaney’s lack of a legislative record, we encourage Democratic voters in Maryland’s 6th Congressional district to vote for Rob Garagiola in the primary on April 3.

This is the official endorsement of Greater Greater Washington, written by one or more contributors. Active contributors and editors voted on endorsements, and any endorsement reflects a strong majority or greater in favor of endorsing the candidate.