Kurt Elsasser is a 25-year-old Republican from Hagerstown running to represent the 6th District in Congress, but he’s not like other Republicans, he said.

“I’m running as a Republican and I am Republican … I’m just … evolved to the 21st century,” Elsasser said in a recent interview. “I look at it from a different perspective than an old-time Republican or old-time Democrat. There needs to be bipartisan agreement on a lot of things.”

He lists a couple: family leave and immigration.

“I support family leave,” Elsasser said. “This is a different generation. Men are no longer just the breadwinners.”

On immigration, he says “when it all boils down, aside from government and politics, we’re all human beings.”

While he doesn’t believe people should be in the country illegally, he also thinks politicians need to operate with a basic “moral respect.”

“Should people be able to live here illegally? Absolutely not,” Elsasser said. “But ripping them out of their houses and deporting them? Probably not the best idea either. …That doesn’t give you a good reputation to say, ‘We’re going to rip you out and throw you over the fence.’”

He said the current immigration system is “so political” and complicated that few people understand it. Undocumented residents who are contributing to society don’t understand how to become documented.

Elsasser said he supported welfare reform — “unfortunately, the system gets abused” — to save money, which could be reinvested to simplify the country’s immigration system.

“You have homeless citizens, you have homeless veterans, you have the opioid epidemic … but we can’t get that funding because we’re still paying somebody who’s capable of working but has just made it a career to milk the system,” Elsasser said. “How do we home in on this and break the lies and people who are cheating the system to give it to the people who really need it?”

He thinks hard work should be rewarded, noting that he has “been through a lot,” growing up with alcoholic parents and not much else.

“I am someone who came from poverty. I grew up with plywood floors,” Elsasser said.

Elsasser grew up in Maryland on the Eastern Shore, before moving to Carroll County, where he graduated from high school.

After living in North Carolina during his military career, Elsasser and his wife settled in Hagerstown, where her parents live.

Earlier this year, Elsasser was a finalist for a vacant position on the Hagerstown City Council. That was his first brush with politics, but Elsasser said his age should not deter voters.

“I know that’s a lot younger for people to file to run for Congress,” he said. “But I’m a combat veteran with the United States Marine Corps.”

He served in Afghanistan and was actively enlisted for 3½ years before being medically discharged in February 2013.

The issues he cares about most deeply involve veterans.

“I was someone who felt the effects of congressional budget cuts on the military while I was in,” Elsasser said. “…It’s something as a veteran that I have a soft spot for. I feel like I can push and pursue to make sure what needs to be done gets done.”

He thinks government could be scaled back and he believes in term limits for Congress.

With Rep. John Delaney (D-6th) announcing his candidacy for president in July, there’s a crowded race to fill his seat.

Four Republicans have launched campaigns: Elsasser, Amie Hoeber, Lisa Lloyd and Bradley Rohrs.

And seven Democrats have announced candidacies: Andrew Duck, George English, Nadia Hashimi, Chris Hearsey, Roger Manno, Aruna Miller and David Trone.

The 2018 primary election is June 26, and the general election is Nov. 6.

Members of Congress serve two-year terms and are paid $174,000 a year.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

(8) comments


I do not believe one should be able to run for Congress when many of their comments are lies. Kurt often forgets to mention that he has a six year old son. It has been almost a year since he made contact with his mother and told him that he didn’t want to be in his sons life anymore. For someone that puts so much time and effort into running for a campaign it infuriates me beyond belief. Please do NOT vote for this coward!

Comment deleted.

Hello, I am very much so in favor of enforcing our immigration policies and making them stronger for our nation. My plan for immigration is to drastically decrease that number of undocumented citizens here in the United States to decrease the $200 + Billion taxpayer spend annually. I am simply suggesting a more realistic way to move this process along. By one enforcing our boarders, legal processes for applications for citizenship, and entrance to the United States. While working to give the opportunity for those undocumented already in the United States the opportunity to become a legal tax paying citizen. With the placement of strict regulations for what allows an undocumented citizen to become a United States Citizen. If the undocumented citizen is a working individual who has not committed crimes or violated or abused our systems. For those who have been convicted of crimes or neglected our laws and systems should and will be deported for a minimum time outside of the United States before even being able to apply for reentry or citizenship.

I very much believe in upholding and support our sovereignty and do not believe in open boarders. I am suggesting that instead of spending $400 Billion on deportation operations and not fix the problem, we find a feasible solution to fix the problem.

Comment deleted.

jersey; quite your lies. Thank you.


BTW remember John Anderson?


He sounds like an Old School Republican to me. Before the Corporate Fascists took over the party. Look at the history of the Republican Party. There once was such a thing as a Liberal Republican!


Hello Vladimir, I am very much so a member of the conservative Republican Party, but I do believe that on many issues we face in our nation today requires bipartisanship to get things accomplished and in the right way to take care of our citizens and the country as a whole. We are in a major crisis as a nation and we need to tackle many issues together as a people to see that they are accomplished for the betterment of our country and the people.


We are in a major crisis because we have a Corporate Fascist President and your party is complicit! It's We the People By the People NOT We the people that BUY the people!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominen criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.