State Del. Aruna Miller got another boost Thursday for her 6th District Congressional campaign when the National Education Association’s political arm announced it was endorsing her.
The endorsement also nets Miller (D-Darnestown) the backing of the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), which counts about 74,000 educators in the state among its members. The support comes days after the Maryland Sierra Club, an environmental group, also chose to back Miller in the eight-way Democratic primary for the congressional seat that Rep. John Delaney is leaving to run for president.
MSEA President Betty Weller said in a statement that Miller “will fight to make sure America is truly the land of opportunity for all children and deeply understands the importance of public education for their future.”
The teachers union made its endorsement after interviewing candidates and evaluating their responses to a questionnaire, according to the MSEA. The 6th District stretches north from Potomac in Montgomery County through Frederick County and includes the western Maryland panhandle.
Miller, an immigrant who arrived in the United State from India with her family when she was 7 years old, credited public school teachers with helping her learn English after she arrived. She said in a statement she has long supported public school teachers as a delegate in the state legislature, where she has served since 2011.
Miller is running in a Democratic field that also includes Potomac businessman David Trone, the co-owner of Total Wine & More who has added another $3 million of his own money to his campaign account and recently began an advertising blitz, and state Sen. Roger Manno (D-Silver Spring), who has received a bevy of trade union endorsements.
Although there are seven other Democrats hoping to win the June 26 primary, the Maryland Republican Party has already focused its attention on Miller. Earlier this month, the party started sending out mass mailers accusing her of “rolling out the red carpet” for undocumented immigrants and criminals. The mailers pointed to her support for a state bill that would have required local and state police to refrain from asking people about their citizenship status in the course of their normal duties.
Another mailer alleged Miller was trying to use taxpayer funds to “designate government-sanctioned facilities for drug addicts” to use heroin. The ad pointed to legislation co-sponsored by Miller that would have enabled community groups to establish supervised drug use centers for addicts. The proposed centers would operate through a program overseen by the state Department of Health that would be designed to try to expose addicts to treatment options, according to the legislation. The bill was not approved during this year’s General Assembly session, which ended April 9.
Miller said in a statement last week the GOP’s mailers were “fear-mongering and false attacks.”
A pollster, Keith Haller, told The Washington Post the party’s attacks may be taking place because GOP officials view Miller as a stronger general election opponent than the other Democratic candidates and they hope to “exploit the anti-immigration issue in the fall.”
State Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire previously said in a statement provided to Bethesda Beat that the mailers aim to show voters “about Delegate Miller’s voting record.”
Miller is also facing Army veteran Andrew Duck of Frederick, retired federal economist George English of Kensington, pediatrician Nadia Hashimi of Potomac, businessman Chris Graves of Montgomery Village and aerospace executive Christopher Hearsey of Gaithersburg.