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Parrott jumps into 6th District congressional race as filing deadline passes

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Parrott jumps into 6th District congressional race as filing deadline passes

Feb 09, 2024 | 9:48 pm ET
By Josh Kurtz
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Parrott jumps into 6th District congressional race as filing deadline passes
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Former Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington), pictured in 2022, filed Friday to run for Congress for the third time. File photo by Bruce DePuyt.

Former state Del. Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington) hopes the third time is the charm.

The two-time Republican nominee in the 6th congressional district entered the GOP primary for the open seat just a few hours before the filing deadline Friday, joining six other Republicans in the race to replace U.S. Rep. David Trone (D), who is running for Senate.

“I am an engineer,” Parrott said in a video he posted to social media from the Maryland State Board of Elections headquarters in Annapolis. “I like to solve problems. I like to work with other people. And I think that’s the kind of leader we need. Someone who is a problem-solver. Someone who’s a communicator. Someone who is going to lead. Someone who has past experience as a legislator for 12 years. I have all this to bring to the table. I do it to serve you. I do it to serve the citizens of Maryland’s 6th District and our country.”

Parrott had created an exploratory committee for a possible third run for Congress, but it wasn’t clear whether he would actually launch another campaign. Until former Gov. Larry Hogan (R) stunned the political world Friday by announcing he would run for U.S. Senate, Parrott’s decision was poised to be one of the most consequential developments of filing day.

Parrott was the GOP nominee against Trone in 2020, losing by 20 points, and he tried again in 2022, when the 6th District was under new lines somewhat more favorable to Republicans. He still lost by over 9 points.

But without a free-spending Democratic incumbent on the ballot this time, Republicans think they have a chance of flipping the 6th District seat. It’s far and away the most competitive congressional district in the state.

Parrott hardly has the GOP field to himself, however. He will compete for the nomination against a group that includes former Del. Dan Cox, the 2022 Republican nominee for governor, Tom Royals, a military veteran who has been the strongest fundraiser in the field so far, and former state Del. Brenda J. Thiam (R-Washington).

The Democratic field in the 6th District also continued to grow leading up to the filing deadline, with 16 candidates.

The 3rd District, where U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D) is retiring, has far and away the most candidates, with 22 Democrats filed for the seat along with nine Republicans.

And in the 2nd District, where Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) only recently announced his retirement plans, six Democrats, led by Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., are running, while three Republicans are in the race. The Democratic field this week was joined by Sia Kyriakakos, a political neophyte and artist who was Maryland’s teacher of the year in 2017.

Parrott jumps into 6th District congressional race as filing deadline passes
Maryland Elections Administrator Jared DeMarinis on Friday night with a countdown clock showing when the candidate filing period would close. Photo by Josh Kurtz.

Even with Hogan’s late entry into the Senate race, where he showed up at the Board of Elections on West Street unannounced, filing deadline day in the office was largely a drama-free affair. While there is sometimes a late rush of candidates in the final hours of filing day, there was only a trickle of stragglers leading up to the 9 p.m. closing. Gubernatorial election years generally produce more last-minute candidates and more stress.

On Friday, a handful of political observers were waiting to see if a “name” conservative would turn up to run against Hogan in the GOP Senate primary — or if Hogan’s entry into the Senate race prompted any prominent Democrats to reconsider their decisions not to run for Senate. Nothing of that magnitude happened.

The last big-name candidates who appeared on Friday night were filing to be delegates to the Democratic National Convention, and they included Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott, Baltimore Comptroller Bill Henry, and House Health and Government Operations Chair Joseline Pena-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel).

The very final candidate to come in, around 8:50 p.m., was Bobby Henry, a Prince George’s County lawyer and former office-seeker, who joined the race to become a DNC delegate from the 4th congressional district. He is not related to Bill Henry.

When the clock struck 9 p.m., Jared DeMarinis, the state election administrator, posed for pictures with Henry — and then everyone went home.