Depending on what happens in the next 18 months, Maryland Republicans will have a choice: Stick with the travesty of Trumpism and support Andy Harris for a seventh term in Congress — a term he once said he would not seek — or back a primary challenger who would be more moderate and less embarrassing to the party and the state.
The odds favor Harris.
Larry Hogan might be leader of the party in Maryland. He might be a popular governor who comes across as a moderate, practical Republican pleased to see Trump out of the White House and eager to see his party freed from extremists and kooks. But Andy Harris, a Trump toady on the radical right fringe, looms just as large among members of his own party.
The state’s only Republican in Congress, Harris is a Freedom Caucus conservative who wins elections easily every two years in a gerrymandered district that runs from Ocean City to Carroll County. Heavily Republican, the 1st Congressional is the only Maryland district that President Donald Trump carried in 2016 and 2020, and Harris even eclipsed Trump’s popularity in November, winning 14,000 more votes than the now-former, twice-impeached president did.
That Joe Biden beat Trump by more than a million votes across deep blue Maryland is of little consequence in the 1st District. It’s a deep red creation of the state’s Democratic leaders. In redrawing the map after the 2010 Census, they packed the district with Republican voters. That maximized Democrats’ chances in the state’s other seven congressional districts and left a safe seat for Harris or, for that matter, just about any Republican.
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