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Choice for Maryland Democrats Comes Down to Star Power Versus Experience

Harry Dunn, a former Capitol Police officer who was on duty during the Jan. 6 riots and is running for elected office for the first time, has become one of the nation’s top political fund-raisers by leveraging the power of his emotional testimony delivered during televised congressional hearings about the attack.

His $4.6 million war chest is larger than any other House candidate in Maryland — and more than all but three non-incumbent Democratic House candidates across the country, according to campaign finance records.

But those contributions and his “save democracy” battle cry face a stiff test from a crowded field of fellow Democrats squaring off Tuesday in a closely watched Maryland House primary that will signal where concerns about Jan. 6 and its aftermath stand among a list of issues for voters on the left.

Mr. Dunn’s main competition is Sarah Elfreth, a state senator who has raised $1.5 million for her campaign and received $4.4 million more in help from outside groups, campaign finance reports show.

Nearly all of that spending has come from United Democracy Project, a super PAC affiliated with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. Mr. Dunn has also pledged to support the Jewish state.

Both Ms. Elfreth and Mr. Dunn have vowed to make campaign finance reform a top priority in Congress. Mr. Dunn has sworn off help from outside groups as part of his pro-democracy platform.

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