Most of the public attention for the upcoming election on November 8 has been directed towards the presidential race. However, a crucial race that has been overshadowed by the presidential election is the race for the District 8 seat in the House of Representatives. Since former District 8 Representative Chris Van Hollen is now seeking election in the U.S. Senate, the highly contested seat has opened up.
Maryland’s eighth Congressional district encompasses portions of Montgomery, Frederick, and Carroll Counties. Emerging victorious from the primaries on April 26 are Jamie Raskin (D) and Dan Cox (R). Also running for the seat are Nancy Wallace (G) and Libertarian Jasen Wunder (L).
The four candidates hail from various backgrounds. Raskin is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School and has been a constitutional law professor at American University for the past 25 years. He has served in the Maryland Senate since 2006 and is the Majority Whip.
Cox has resided in Maryland throughout his life and has served as an attorney for the past decade. Wallace graduated from Yale University and has lobbied extensively for environmental regulation laws, and Wunder works as a full-time paramedic in the John Hopkins Hospital.
In the primary election, Raskin defeated a pool of eight other contenders, including self-funded businessman David Trone, who spent a record-breaking $13.32 million.
Raskin’s career is characterized by a history of championing progressive causes, being a proponent of a host of issues including marriage equality, single-payer health care, women’s reproductive rights, and the Maryland DREAM act for undocumented immigrants. Raskin also wishes to increase the accessibility of higher education. He is an outspoken critic of the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United decision, in which the court ruled in favor of protecting campaign expenditures by independent organizations as a form of free speech.
Sophomore Russell Corbin of Richard Montgomery High School is a firm supporter of Raskin. “He’s fought for environmental issues, women’s rights, raising the minimum wage, gun control, so many issues that are really important to Marylanders and particularly people in the eighth district,” he said.
Dan Cox, however, shares little in common with Raskin. He is a staunch conservative who triumphed over four other candidates in the primaries and is a steadfast supporter of presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Cox stands in support of the right to own firearms and against abortion and illegal immigration. If elected, he pledges to reduce government spending, widen I-270, and back health care competition. Richard Montgomery High School junior Josh Levy says, “He’s an interesting candidate in an unfortunately unwinnable race.”
In comparison with Raskin and Cox, third party candidates Nancy Wallace and Jason Wunder lack media coverage and public attention. However, despite their inadequate budgets, both are making genuine efforts to appeal to voters.
Wallace’s platform is centered around environmental protection. She proposes that Congress should recommend a national emergency declaration to combat climate change and advocates for renewable energy. Besides environmental policy, Wallace is a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare, privacy rights, and granting legal status to undocumented immigrants.
Wunder is running on a platform of low government intrusion. He wishes to eliminate all federal taxes, end all warrantless surveillance, and abolish the principle of eminent domain. He has also expressed support for pay reductions and single-terms in Congress.
Maryland has a history of being a safely ‘blue’ state, and this year is no different. Ballotpedia projects a clear victory for Raskin in a “safely democratic” race. In 2014, for instance, incumbent Chris Van Hollen defeated conservative challenger Dave Wallace by 20.6%. In the district, Democrats hold a 2-1 voting registration advantage over Republicans, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Raskin has received support from John Conyers, a U.S. Representative, and Brian Frosh, Maryland’s Attorney General. Cox is endorsed by several prominent politicians, including congressman Andy Harris from Maryland’s first district. Missing from his supporters, however, is Governor Larry Hogan (R), who has endorsed several conservative candidates running for various offices.
In the days leading up to the election, all four candidates are hard at work to gain more voter support. On Election Day, District 8 voters will cast their ballots for a candidate in a race that should not be undervalued. The future congressional representative of District 8 will represent and advocate for Marylanders within the primary lawmaking body of the United States. It is in the best interests of voters to make politically informed decisions in this crucial upcoming election.
Article by MoCo Student Staff Writer Emily Tian of Richard Montgomery High School