This story was updated at 9:45 p.m. July 11 to correct the name of State Senator Craig Zucker, who represents District 14.
The state Senate race for District 18 has heated up over the past two weeks, thanks to a flyer from the Maryland Democratic Senate Caucus Committee attacking challenger Max Socol who has come under fire from other Democrats.
In the July 19 Democratic primary, Socol faces incumbent Jeff Waldstreicher of Kensington, who has represented the district since 2019 and served in the House of Delegates from 2007 to 2019. District 18 now includes Wheaton, Kensington, much of Chevy Chase and nearby areas.
The flyer, sent by the state Senate Caucus Committee, attacks Socol for its past tweets about President Joe Biden. One, from July 6, 2019, states: “A vote for Joe Biden is a vote to kill workers.
Two other tweets from Socol feature profanity, calling Biden a “useless Democrat” and asking him to quit the Democratic Party.
The flyer also quotes Cheryl Gannon, described as a Democratic activist and Silver Springs resident, who said Socol “just isn’t good for our community. He constantly attacks other Democrats, bullies people online and insults anyone who disagrees with him. It’s not who I want to represent us.
Gannon could not immediately be reached for comment via email on Monday.
In an open letter on July 9, the Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club condemned the flyer, noting that because it was produced by the state’s caucus committee, it meant that each of the state’s 32 Democratic senators actually had it approved.
“We expect the Democratic Senate Caucus Committee to invest in holding or reversing swing districts,” the letter said. “These Trumpian attack ads are beneath our party leaders and insulting to their constituents. The gutter is no place for Maryland Democrats, especially against fellow Democrats, no matter who you personally support in the Democratic primary.
The race between Socol and Waldstreicher has been one of the most publicized Democratic Senate primaries this year. Local political observers say the race represents one of the best opportunities for a challenger to topple an incumbent.
The state’s Democratic caucus is chaired by Sen. Craig Zucker, who represents District 14, which includes Olney, Cloverly, Laytonsville, Burtonsville and other eastern parts of the county. He could not be reached immediately on Monday for comment on the sender.
Waldstreicher could not be reached for comment by phone or text Monday.
Socol said in a brief interview that it was “too bad” that the Maryland Democratic Senate Caucus Committee decided to produce a post about his old social media posts.
He acknowledged that his campaign had sent out flyers to voters attacking Waldstreicher’s record – but added that there are stark differences between him and the policy holder. In forums and questionnaires, Socol said he was more progressive on housing issues and criticized Waldstreicher for weakening state legislation relating to police reform.
“I understand that in primaries you have to draw contrasts, and I think that’s absolutely fair,” Socol said. “But I think there’s a big difference between drawing contrasts and attacking someone’s character based on old social media posts.”
Early voting for the Democratic primary continues through Thursday. Election day is July 19. Absentee ballots will be accepted provided they are postmarked by 8 p.m. on July 19 or deposited in a ballot box at that time.
Steve Bohnel can be reached at [email protected]