Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– A new political battle pits two veteran Maryland politicians against each other in a district that covers large parts of Baltimore and Harford counties. Republican Nancy Jacobs is counting on an anti-incumbent mood to sweep her into office.
Mike Hellgren has the analysis and spoke one-on-one with Jacobs.
Jacobs is hoping to tap into those fed up with what is happening in Washington, but first, she’s hoping to get some Democrats to cross over onto her side. Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger won the seat in the last election by more than 64,000 votes.
“I’m not a Washington insider. I’ll never be a Washington insider,” she said.
Republican Nancy Jacobs is counting on the dissatisfaction with Washington, D.C. to give her a seat in Congress.
A conservative, she’s served in Maryland’s General Assembly since 1994, and before that, she was a teacher, a broadcaster and a realtor.
She hopes to be holding Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger’s seat next year.
Hellgren: “What about the anti-incumbency mood? Do you think it benefits you?”
Jacobs: “Oh, absolutely it benefits me because I have a record of not being one of those incumbents who becomes part of the system.”
“Look at my record, look at who I am and look at where we are,” Ruppersberger said.
But Ruppersberger, who’s held the seat since 2003, beat his challengers by margins of more than two-to-one in the last two elections.
And the district, which snakes through parts of Baltimore and Harford counties, still favors Democrats.
“It’s very, very hard to beat an incumbent, and I think it’s going to be very hard for anyone– Nancy Jacobs or whomever– to beat Dutch Ruppersberger,” explained Donald Norris, professor and chair of the Department of Public Policy and director of the Maryland Institute for Policy Analysis and Research at the University of Maryland Baltimore County. “I think it’s less an anti-incumbency mood than it is an anti-Washington, anti-Congress mood.”
But Jacobs, who has already released her first ad, is one of Maryland’s most recognizable Republicans, making her name on crime issues and leading the fight against same-sex marriage in the state Senate last year. She promises to make the race for the second competitive.
“That’s our first goal: to raise money to run the kind of campaign that we need to run,” she said.
Ruppersberger’s camp released a statement in response to Jacobs’ campaign saying: “As county councilman, county executive, and U.S. representative, Dutch Ruppersberger has been a dedicated and successful advocate for his constituents. He works across the political aisle on the issues that matter the most, like creating jobs, saving homes, reducing government waste and protecting our nation. We look forward to a fair campaign with all of the candidates.”
Before redistricting, several prominent Republicans held the seat, including Bob Ehrlich and Helen Bentley.
Jacobs recently stepped down as Senate minority leader to focus on this race.