The Maryland Democratic Party on Thursday called on U.S. Rep. Andy Harris to immediately resign, saying that he is a “disgrace” to the state and that he and other Republican members of Congress were complicit in the violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol that left four people dead.
“Make no mistake, the Republican members of Congress who instigated this violence — including Representative Harris — are complicit in this attempted insurrection,” said a statement by state Democratic chair Yvette Lewis. “They have blood on their hands.”
Police say one woman was shot by U.S. Capitol Police and three others died in medical emergencies as a mob loyal to GOP President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol in support of the chief executive’s unfounded claims that the Nov. 3 election was rigged against him.
Harris, a sixth-term conservative and anesthesiologist, was among the those who voted to contest the presidential election results in two states after Congress reconvened late Wednesday to certify Democratic President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Harris voted in favor of two objections to Biden’s victory — one related to results in Pennsylvania and another tied to the count in Arizona. Maryland’s other seven representatives — all Democrats — voted against the challenges.
Both objections failed overnight. Early Thursday, the Electoral College vote in Biden’s favor was confirmed.
In a statement issued on Facebook before the votes, Harris reiterated concerns about voter fraud during the presidential election. Trump and his allies have continued to falsely assert that Biden’s victory was fraudulent, and have made numerous failed attempts to challenge the results in court.
“If there truly is not a single fraudulent vote — that’s great,” Harris wrote. “If there’s some fraudulent votes, even if there’s not enough to sway an election — we should still care to catch them and prosecute. If there’s a bigger fraud that’s occurred that did change an election (local, state, or federal) then we must correct the situation and stop it from happening again in the future.”
Harris said in his post that he “wholeheartedly condemn[s]” the mob violence at the Capitol.
Harris and spokesman Walter Smoloski did not respond to repeated inquiries for comment from The Baltimore Sun.
In an interview with WBAL-TV, Harris likened Wednesday’s violence to racial justice demonstrations over the past year.
“It definitely got out of hand, no question about it. It shouldn’t happen like that,” Harris told the station. “But again, people are very discouraged, they’re disappointed. The country is polarized. People have watched riots over the summer, for valid reasons, but they’ve turned violent with no repercussions.”
“Representative Harris’ actions have been nothing short of an attack on our democracy, a betrayal of those who he represents, and an attempt to overturn a legitimate election in favor of a wannabe authoritarian,” Lewis said in her statement. “His conduct is a disgrace to the Eastern Shore, and to all the people of Maryland. He should resign — immediately.”
Maryland Policy & Politics
Harris’ district is made up of the Eastern Shore, plus portions of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford counties.
During the mob violence Wednesday afternoon, the Republican county executive of Harford County tweeted, “Put this rebellion down!” and quoted President Abraham Lincoln from 1864.
“‘We cannot have free government without elections and if the rebellion could force us to postpone a national election it might fairly claim to have already ruined us,’” Barry Glassman wrote, citing Lincoln.
In an email, he added: “I am embarrassed that our Congressman Harris was part of such a(n) act of sedition.”
Before being elected in 2010, Harris promised to serve no more than six terms, or 12 years, if elected. He made the pledge during a period of voter anger against government and “career politicians.” He has not spoken publicly recently about the pledge, which would kick in at the end of the two-year term that began Sunday.
Harris is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Trump enthusiastically endorsed him in June. He’s been a reliably Republican vote and earned high marks from anti-abortion organizations, the National Rifle Association and other interest groups often aligned with the GOP.
Baltimore Sun reporter Pamela Wood and Baltimore Sun Media reporter S. Wayne Carter Jr. contributed to this article.