By KELSI LOOS
WASHINGTON—Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, and Delegate Anthony O'Donnell have very different views on how to improve the nation as they run for Congress from Maryland's 5th Congressional District.
The district covers Charles, St. Marys and Calvert counties, as well as parts of Anne Arundel and Prince Georges counties. Election Day will be Nov. 6 but early voting will begin Oct. 27.
Hoyer was elected to the Maryland Senate in 1966, and was Senate president from 1975-1978. He was first elected to Congress in 1981 and has served 16 terms, including time as House majority leader from 2006-2010. He now is the House Democratic whip.
ODonnell was elected in 1994 to the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 29-C, which includes parts of Calvert and St. Marys Counties, and continues to represent that district. He has served as House minority leader and is a member of the House Environmental Matters Committee.
Taking on a long-term incumbent is never easy, but ODonnell faces a particularly tough campaign because the district has more than twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans.
Like most incumbents, Hoyer has the edge in fundraising, raising more money than any other representative in Maryland. He collected $3.8 million by mid-October while ODonnell took in only $128,959 for his campaign, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. This figure does not consider the latest campaign finance reporting deadline so those numbers may soon change.
Like most challengers, ODonnell has established himself as almost exactly opposite of Hoyer, and the two candidates philosophies and records differ markedly, especially on the budget and jobs, one of the most important issues of this election.
ODonnell seeks to limit governments role. He would cut regulations that strangle jobs, and enforce current laws that keep us safe. He has said that he would reform and preserve Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare, and simplify the tax code to generate revenue. He has frequently voted against tax increases and energy regulations.
Hoyer, on the other hand, has voted for a strong government role in the economy when he voted for the jobs act, aid to General Motors and Chrysler and raising the debt limit. He opposed the Republican budget for fiscal year 2013 saying, Their budget slashes funding for programs that help the vulnerable, enable our children to afford college, and provide health coverage to those with long-term disabilities. And it puts millions of jobs and our economic recovery at risk as a result of drastic spending cuts.
The two major party candidates will also share the ballot with Libertarian Arvin Vohra, author of Lies, Damned Lies, and College Admissions and owner of Arvin Vohra Education, and the Green Partys Bob Auerbach, a 92-year-old retired librarian and peace activist.