CHESTERTOWN, Md. (WJZ) — While the election for the seat representing Maryland’s first congressional district in the House of Representatives is nearly two years away, the list of candidates hoping to defeat incumbent Rep. Andy Harris is already beginning to take shape.
Former Maryland delegate and gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur, a Democrat, announced her campaign to run against Harris Thursday.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: 862 New Cases Reported; Hospitalizations, Positivity Rate Continue Declining
It was the deadly riots at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month that drew her back into politics.
“The events of January 6th have forever changed us,” Mizeur said in a video kicking off her campaign. “Witnessing a treasonous insurrection against the citadel of our democracy, with the express encouragement of those bound by a Constitutional oath to protect it, is an unforgivable betrayal. Andy Harris’s actions on that day alone disqualify him from representing Maryland’s First District, but since that act of domestic terrorism, unbecoming conduct has continued to be his calling card.”
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Harris was among the Republicans objecting to Biden’s Electoral College win even after the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. He allegedly got into a scuffle with another lawmaker on the House floor that night.
Harris said there was no physical altercation on the House floor.
A week later, he was caught with a gun at the security checkpoint at the U.S. Capitol.
Harris had pledged he would serve no more than six terms in office, even introducing term limit legislation, but earlier this month he announced he would seek a seventh term.
Voters, Mizeur said, “are looking for dignified leaders who lead from their heart.”
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I'm in! Are you? Let's do this. Watch and share our campaign announcement video — then give at https://t.co/SwYU4VJXKQ to help us build the team to win. #FlipTheFirst #Mizeur2022https://t.co/olW6aix2LK
— Heather R. Mizeur (@heathermizeur) January 28, 2021
Mizeur worked in the U.S. Congress for a decade, including four years as former U.S. Senator John Kerry’s Domestic Policy Director. She served as a city councilmember and state legislator all while running a small business.
She was elected to the General Assembly in 2006 and served two four-year terms and unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2014. Since then, she founded Soul Force Politics, an organization that works to bridge worsening divisions in American politics.
She and her wife Deborah live and work on their Chestertown farm.
Mizeur isn’t Harris’ only potential challenger; Harford County Executive Barry Glassman is weighing a Republican primary challenge. He will make an announcement by spring.
“Although it would be a tough race, it would probably be the most noble race,” Glassman said.
Glassman told WJZ he was “embarrassed” Harris was “part of such an act of sedition.”
In a statement, Harris’ campaign said in part, “With the election over 21 months away, he is not focused on other campaigns.”
Harris skipped the impeachment vote, calling it “a waste of time.” Mizeur said she would have voted in favor of impeachment, while Glassman didn’t comment either way.
Political scientist Roger Hartley said the heavily Republican first congressional district is unlikely to look dramatically different if it is redrawn following the 2020 census.
“Right now, the way things stand, it’s a very conservative district that fits him,” Hartley, the dean of the University of Baltimore’s College of Public Affairs, said.
Harris has been overwhelmingly re-elected five times in the largely rural district, but Hartley said he could be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the center.MORE NEWS: Maryland State Police Investigating Fatal Pedestrian-Involved Crash In Prince George's County
“They may be able to appeal to the voters of the district and say, ‘I am a Republican like you are and this is not who we are,'” Hartley said. “That would be a pretty effective message.”