The GOP candidates running to for the 8th Congressional District have taken their stands after the congressional debate hosted by The Montgomery County Sentinel Newspapers.
From choosing between McCartney or Lennon to voter fraud, the candidates answered how they plan to reach out “across the aisle” to the majority-Democratic voters.
The lineup of the GOP candidates is diverse in ideas and backgrounds, each with a common goal to somehow show a different face of the Republican Party from the one presented on the national stage.
“Let’s honor it (being Republican), accept it, share it, proclaim it (and) remind people, of the people, by the people, for the people, that it takes somebody who’s clearly connected to the people of the 8th District in enough ways to be able to restore that sense of who we are and have been,” said candidate Jeff Jones at the debate on March 28.
Jones, the Baltimore native, is a pastor at North Bethesda United Methodist Church. His focus was to regain a “sense of representation” as he repeated the phrase “of the people, by the people, for the people” in several of his responses throughout the debate.
According to Jones, being a pastor has made him connect with several aspects and members of the 8th District. Though running as a Republican, Jones shared several liberal social views on issues such as immigration reform and abortion.
Moving away from the social issues for his campaign, however, is candidate Shelton Skolnick, who describes himself as a “moderate Republican.” He said his focus was on the economic problems and to “make Congress work again.”
Skolnick said his approach would start with a budget plan given the federal deficit.
“If a moderate Republican wins in the 8th Congressional District, that’d be quite a shock. But it would also tell the Republican caucus that there’s a huge potential of more Republicans. And who knows with this election how large or small the Republican caucus is going to be,” Skolnick said.
Skolnick, who enters the race with some experience from running for County Council in 2014, said he thinks there are “too many extremes from the left and the right” in Congress and said he believes there should be more moderates in office.
However, Skolnick did say he would support Donald Trump if he became the Republican presidential nominee. Skolnick said the reason behind this answer is he believes the Republican Party should be more inclusive toward all candidates.
Silver Spring resident and candidate Aryeh Shudofsky did not look at party affiliation when looking at which candidate to support for the presidential run.
“I think when you’re voting for the president of the United States, it’s not about party affiliation; it’s about choosing the person you believe to be the best leader and the best equipped to lead this country and to get the nuclear codes. (Trump) has seven months in order to prove himself (to be) a potential leader, but if the election were today I would say absolutely not (vote for Trump),” Shudofsky said.
Though Shudofsky said he would not support Trump, he said he does believe building a wall along the border would be a “positive part of” national security, even though he believes it would be “incredibly expensive.”
Shudofsky, who strongly supports the private sector, also said focusing on the Metro as a business would help the agency and its problems.
“Focusing on Metro either as a public-private partnership or private enterprise in general is actually what’s going to be successful for metro,” Shudofsky said.
Although Shudofsky said he is an advocate for having the government step out of the way for certain issues, he said he does believe the government should be involved in helping people who cannot provide for themselves.
Matory, a D.C. native who has shifted from being a Democrat to an independent and then a Republican over the past seven months, said she would also support strengthening immigration laws as well as funding for more resources for border protection. However, she would not support putting up a wall along the border.
Matory also said she would “drop” the Metro from federal expenditures if the issues were not resolved. She suggested privatizing Metro at this point.
“There are certain things that when you have, if anything, governments and federal governments in general, they’re controlling it and not allowing it to thrive or grow or strategize,” Matory said.