Smigiel to primary Harris in 1st District

Michael D. Smigiel will challenge Rep. Andy Harris for the state's 1st Congressional District.

WASHINGTON -- Former state lawmaker Michael D. Smigiel, Sr., will challenge Rep. Andy Harris for the GOP nomination to represent the state's 1st Congressional District.

The Chesapeake City attorney, who served three terms in Annapolis, will face difficult odds running against a sitting incumbent, who was first elected in 2011 in a district widely considered safe for Republicans. 

Smigiel will formally announce his candidacy on June 10 at a restaurant on Kent Island, he said Tuesday. The 1st District includes the Eastern Shore and portions of Harford, Baltimore and Carroll counties.

Smigiel, a conservative who led the fight opposing tougher gun laws in the legislature, has had a rocky relationship with Harris.

While both are conservative, Smigiel's record also includes a libertarian streak that, for instance, led to him to team up with liberal Democrat Heather Mizeur last year on legislation to legalize pot.

Harris, by contrast, has received national attention for attempting to use his perch on the House Appropriations Committee to undo legalization efforts in the District of Columbia.

That's one of the issues Smigiel cited in an interview for why he is planning to run. Harris' decision to support Ohio Rep. John Boehner for House Speaker is another. Boehner has occasionally disappointed conservatives by advancing legislation (such as to fund the government) that hasn’t included provisions they support (such as to defund President Obama’s executive action on immigration).




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