July is a sleepy month for primaries for midterm elections. Only one state holds theirs during the month, that being the state of Maryland. And usually not much excitement occurs on the Republican side. This is of course because Maryland is one of the safest Democratic states in the country. A blend of a large Black population and high education levels makes the state a Democratic stronghold almost everywhere in the state.
Almost everywhere is not everywhere however, as there are some parts of the state that make up the Republican vote. The Eastern Shore and the three western most counties of Garrett, Allegany and Washington, the three of which have been described as more West Virginia than Maryland.
The deep Democratic control of the state however has led to gerrymandered maps last decade, which cut out the Western Republican seat by dragging the three counties into deep blue parts of Montgomery. The same thing was about to happen for the 2020s, until the state court stepped in. That change brought back a more competitive Western District, which now holds one of the more intriguing House Republican primaries of this cycle.
The New 6th District
The new 6th district is based in the three western Maryland counties, Frederick, and parts of Montgomery. The new seat does take in significantly less of Montgomery now, making it competitive. It stands as a Biden+10 seat currently, but only voted for Hillary Clinton by a single percentage point. The key area of this seat is now Frederick County. The county swung heavily from 2016 to 2020, going from Trump+2 to Biden+10. If a Republican candidate can win Frederick by slightly larger margins than Trump did in 2016, they have probably won this district.
The Two Main Candidates
Of their six candidate field, two candidates have stood out in this race: 2020 nominee and current delegate Neil Parrott and journalist Matthew Foldi. Now, Parrott is your run-of-the-mill Republican candidate. He’s a delegate from the western part of the district, and is endorsed by the more conservative groups from Maryland – organizations like CPAC and FreedomWorks, as well as the state’s Right to Life Branch. Parrott also holds an endorsement from Andy Harris, the only current Republican congressman from Maryland, who represents the Safe Republican 1st based in the Eastern Shore.
Foldi however, is a much more interesting candidate. First of all, he’s 25, which would make him one of the youngest congressmen ever if he were to go all the way. Secondly, he has acquired a ton of endorsements from current elected officials. Those endorsements include Kevin McCarthy, Elise Stefanik, Don Bacon, and Governor Larry Hogan. This makes Foldi a legitimate candidate, and based on the activity from his Twitter, he’s been barnstorming the district knocking doors. Foldi has also drawn some criticism though, as his past activities have some questioning whether he is more interested in trolling to get clicks, rather than actually governing.
However, it is of my opinion that either candidate would be a good choice. Parrott would bring experience and a history of connecting to the district’s population. Foldi would bring energy and attention to a seat still slightly on the outside for Republicans this cycle in terms of top targets. Either way, the race between these two is likely to be close. If it’s not, then something happened behind the scenes that we missed. Either way, this primary is one to watch on Tuesday night.