5:49 PM EDT, September 22, 2012
The Maryland Democratic Party this week said it will back a write-in candidate challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Andy Harris in Maryland's 1st Congressional District — which includes much of Carroll County — after voter fraud allegations ended the previous Democratic candidate's bid.
The party had scrambled for a replacement since its primary winner Wendy Rosen had to drop out of the race on Sept. 10, after confirming reports that she had voted in two different states in more than one election.
The party this week threw its support behind John LaFerla, 63, a gynecologist from Chestertown, who had lost in the primary to Rosen by just 57 votes.
But because LaFerla is late entering the campaign he will have to run as a write-in candidate, a distinct disadvantage.
"We've talked to the State Board of Elections, and unfortunately we're past the date, which leaves us with no legal means to add someone to the ballot," said Matthew Verghese, the Maryland Democratic Party political and communications director. "The party understands the reality of waging a write-in campaign."
Another write-in candidate has also emerged in the race — Douglas Rae, owner and head baker of the Evergrain Bread Co. in Chestertown.
"I became interested in running when Wendy Rosen withdrew, which left the field right open for someone my age, 24, to get more involved, and to inspire others my age to get involved. I think people have become disconnected with the democratic process, and I'm trying to show them, through running, that you can make a difference," Rae said.
Rosen withdrew once news broke that she had voted in Florida and Maryland in more than one election.
"Today, the Maryland Democratic Party ... demanded the withdrawal of Wendy Rosen ... after allegations of electoral law violations were brought to our attention," said Maryland Democratic Party Chair Yvette Lewis in a release. "Any effort to corrupt or misuse the electoral process is reprehensible, wrong and must not be tolerated."
Maryland Republican Party Executive Director David Ferguson also denounced the Rosen allegations, saying the party was, "happy to see Maryland's Democrats publicly agree that voter fraud is wrong. Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi should not only investigate but also prosecute Wendy Rosen to the fullest extent of the law."
Matt Fleming, Capital News Service
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