Maryland’s First District incumbent, Congressman Andy Harris, will face a millennial less than half his age in the 2020 primary.
It’s no doubt risky business for a young newcomer to take on an incumbent in the same party, especially when there is little that separates the candidates on the issues. And both parties have traditionally resisted challenges to incumbents.
But at 30, Jorge Delgado III, of Ocean City says he’s adept enough to national politics to know that “the system is broken.” He says the GOP needs more youth and diversity in its ranks in order to reach across the aisle where the Democratic ranks have swelled with a young and diverse insurgency.
“I took a gamble, but I believe I’m in it for the right reasons,” he said. “I’m focused on the future and expanding the conservative movement for the next generation of young conservative voices.”
After graduating from Auburn University in 2011 with a degree in international business and finance, Delgado joined Colorado Republican Congressman Scott Tipton as an intern and later worked for GOP Congressman Cory Gardner, also of Colorado.
“When you called your congressman you called me; if you were a veteran with a casework problem with the VA you called me, and if you had an IRS issue I dealt with it; I dealt with all these issues,” he said.
When Gardner won a Senate seat in 2016 Delgado was promoted to regional director of Garnder’s Denver headquarters, where he worked on water and energy issues — and represented Gardner before the White House Business Council.
In 2016 Gardner became chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and called Delgado to Washington to be his aid on the committee. Delgado later became Gardner’s economic policy adviser.
Born and raised in Maryland, Delgado said he ventured out to find work with Republicans from other states because Maryland has only one Republican district.
“I had to expand my radius,” he said. “But after traveling over 190,000 miles a year I wanted to return home and be with my family in Worcester County and represent the Eastern Shore in Congress.”
This summer Delgado left his position on Gardner’s staff to challenge Harris.
Delgado said he will “run a positive campaign that deals with pocketbook issues and the issues facing the Eastern Shore.”
There are some contrasts with Harris on water conservation and seismic blasting used in energy exploration.
“We are an energy-independent nation and we can harvest our resources without harming marine life and harming the livelihoods of our commercial fisherman,” he said.
Delgado said he’s looking forward to a debate with Harris.