Dr. Milad L. Pooran is temporarily stepping away from his campaign for Maryland's 6th Congressional District seat because, as an Air National Guardsman, he has been deployed to Germany.
During a telephone interview Wednesday, several hours before his overseas flight, Pooran said he will be part of a critical-care air-transport team treating service members with combat injuries, mainly those serving in Afghanistan.
Pooran's three-member team will be stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany and fly where needed, according to the D.C. Air National Guard. During their 30-day deployment, the team will accompany patients as far as they need to go, which might mean the United States, then return to Germany to await the next call.
Pooran, of Jefferson, Md., works under contract as a critical-care physician at the VA Medical Center near Martinsburg, W.Va.
With the Air National Guard, he has served as a surgeon and medic, according to a biographical summary he previously provided.
Pooran said Wednesday that his wife, Amy, will stand in for him at campaign events, and his friends and family will assist with fundraising while he was away.
"Everyone's pitching in so that while Milad is away caring for the wounded, we have his back here on the campaign," a notice posted on his candidate website said.
He expects to return around the end of January, giving him a few months to continue campaigning before the April 3 primary.
Pooran is one of two Democrats who have filed to run for the 6th District seat. The other is state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola.
A third Democrat, Duchy Trachtenberg, has an exploratory committee, and a fourth, John Delaney, is campaigning but hasn't filed as a candidate or formed a fundraising committee.
The seat currently is held by 10-term Republican incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett, who has four official GOP challengers and could have at least a few more.
Pooran had a similar campaign interruption in 2006, when he ran unsuccessfully for a Prince George's County school board seat. He said he was deployed to Iraq after three weeks of campaigning, then came home shortly before the primary election vote.