Mark Uncapher, is serving as President of the Montgomery County Republican Club. Mark is a long-time party activist who previously served as the Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.
Contesting Maryland’s CD 6 with a More Competitive MoCo Campaign
Former Delegate Thiam Launches in Germantown
A swing of half a dozen seats in the House of Representatives out of 435 could decide who wields the Speaker’s gavel in 2025. Multiple independent analysts have identified Maryland CD Six as one of fewer than two dozen evenly matched districts that could decide control of the House of Representatives.
After the lines for Maryland Congressional District Six were drawn in 2022, the political website FiveThirtyEight rated Maryland CD Six as a “Republican plus one point” district. [i] Alternatively, the Cook Report ranked it as a “Democratic plus one.” [ii] In the jargon of political handicappers, this means that in an average election year, a party’s candidate will win by a single percentage point.[iii] Adding another dimension to the district’s competitiveness, it will be an open seat in 2024 because incumbent David Trone has chosen to run for the U.S. Senate.
Unlike most congressional districts whose boundaries are drawn to clearly favor one party or the other, in purple-hued Maryland CD Six, neither party can rely only on party loyalty to win. Instead, support from independents and ticket-splitters is required.
In 2022, a third of the votes came from Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties. It was carried by the Republican candidate by a healthy margin. Forty percent were cast in Frederick and went Democratic by a narrow margin. Crucially, for David Trone’s success, 25% of the total vote came from Montgomery County, which he carried very decisively with 75%. While Trone took the entire district by 25,000 votes, he won his Montgomery County precincts with a 33,000 vote margin.
In short, Republican CD Six candidates can ill afford to take a deer-in-the-headlights approach to Montgomery County. The model for a more competitive Republican campaign comes from Governor Larry Hogan’s 2018 reelection. Hogan won 44% of the entire county’s votes. This Baltimore Sun’s statewide precinct-by-precinct election map visually presents the large sections of upper and western Montgomery County that Governor Hogan carried. See https://www.baltimoresun.com/politics/bs-md-governor-election-precinct-map-20181107-htmlstory.html
On balance, Maryland CD 8, comprising most of the county, is much more Democratic than CD Six’s Montgomery County turf. A more competitive Republican in CD Six should do far better than the 25% of the votes that the 2022 nominee received.
To be sure, within CD Six, Germantown provides a considerable challenge for Republicans. With a population as a census-defined area of over 91,000 in the 2020 census, Germantown is the third most populous place in Maryland after Baltimore and Columbia. Even Governor Hogan was less competitive there than in the rest of Montgomery County.
Former Delegate Brenda Thiam’s announcement that she is running for the Congressional District Six Republican nomination and her decision to announce it in Germantown is an encouraging reflection that one Republican candidate is focusing on the district’s Montgomery County opportunity.
As a former Delegate and Hagerstown City Councilman, Washington County might have been the natural place to kick off her campaign. Instead, she chose Germantown and its iconic Black Rock Center for the Arts. She and her husband lived there for over a decade before moving to Hagerstown in 2006.
She joins a race that already includes filed candidates Chris Hyser of Thurmont, Todd Puglisi of Germantown, and Mariela Roca of Frederick. Woodsboro Burgess (Mayor) Heath Barnes has resigned as the Maryland Republican Party’s Second Vice Chairman, indicating his intention to join the race too. While news outlets, including the Duckpin, once reported that former Republican candidate for Governor Dan Cox had filed with the FEC to run, he has said a third party maliciously made the filing.
Thiam has already attracted national support. After hearing her speak at a Maryland Republican event, Rep. Wesley Hunt (R-Tx) backed her candidacy with a contribution.
As the first African-American woman to serve in the General Assembly as a Republican, Thiam is well-qualified to make a very competitive race for CD Six.
Her website is https://brendathiam.com/