Pat McDonough to challenge Dutch Ruppersberger for Congress

A conservative state lawmaker with a penchant for controversial comments said Friday he will run for Congress in Maryland's 2nd Congressional District.

Del. Patrick McDonough of Baltimore County, who filed his candidacy with the State Board of Elections on Friday, criticized incumbent Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger of being too cozy with the Obama administration, and suggested that the Democrat had "lost touch" with the district's voters.

"He has become a 100 percent 'Obama-Dutch,'" McDonough said in an interview. "The point is, you have to live with your record."

The meandering 2nd District, includes portions of Harford, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties as well as a few slices of Baltimore City. It is widely considered safe for Democrats, though Ruppersberger's votes have reflected a more centrist constituency than in some other parts of the state.

State Sen. Nancy C. Jacobs challenged Ruppersberger in 2012 -- a year after the 2011 redistricting -- and lost by a wide margin. Ruppersberger captured 66 percent of the vote that year. Two years later, Ruppersberger beat Republican David Banach with 61 percent of the vote.

Echoing other Republicans running in Maryland, McDonough said that last year's victory by Gov. Larry Hogan paved a path for a Republican to win in the 2nd District. Hogan did pick up support from several Baltimore County neighborhoods that are part of Ruppersberger's district.

McDonough said Ruppersberger, previously the top-ranking Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence, had "failed in his responsibility," citing the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, the rise of the self-described Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

"The President and 'Obama Dutch' have been absent without leadership, actively reducing the size and effectiveness of our national defense," McDonough wrote in a campaign announcement on Friday. 

McDonough, who hosts a radio program on WCBM, came under fire in 2012 for suggesting that "roving mobs of black youth" were terrorizing Baltimore. He received national attention for suggesting the government should take away food stamps from parents whose teenagers who rioted last year following the death of Freddie Gray.

In a statement, Ruppersberger spokeswoman Jaime Lennon said the congressman has "always respected anyone willing to throw their hat in the ring, so it's a shame to hear Pat McDonough is going negative already. As always, Congressman Ruppersberger will run on his record of putting our country and his constituents first."

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