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Maryland Rep. Andy Harris says he will seek a seventh term, after pledging to serve no more than six

A decade after pledging to voters that he would serve no more than six terms if elected to Congress, Maryland Rep. Andy Harris said Saturday he plans to seek a seventh term.

“Look, the situation is very different from then. No one would have anticipated that we have the pushback from liberals and socialists that we had then,” said Harris, a Republican, in an interview on WBAL radio.

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Harris was a conservative state senator and congressional candidate in 2010 when he first 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.”

The pledge would have meant Harris needed to step down at the end of the current two-year term in January 2023.

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“The bottom line is this fight is not over,” he told WBAL host Andrew Langer. “We have serious threats and in the end, it’s going to be up to the people in the 1st Congressional District.”

Harris didn’t elaborate on the threats. He and spokesman Walter Smoloski did not respond to interview requests on Saturday afternoon.

The congressman — whose district includes parts of Carroll, Harford and Baltimore counties, as well as the Eastern Shore — has continued to raise campaign money. His campaign committee accumulated nearly $1.5 million during 2019 and most of 2020, according to Federal Election Commission records. The committee had about $1 million remaining as of Nov. 23, according to a recent summary filed with the FEC.

Harris adopted a popular Republican position in 2010 when he pledged, if elected, to leave after 12 years. He unseated Democratic Rep. Frank M. Kratovil Jr. in the election. Harris’s pledge was reported by The Baltimore Sun, which called it “an expiration date,” as well as by CNN and in media outlets around the district.

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As recently as 2015, the Cecil Whig reported Harris told a high school government class in North East that he “planned to retire after 12 years in Congress, if voters elected him to do so, noting he was in favor of 12-year term limits.”

“If you’re there for 20 or 30 years, I believe you tend to get inside the Beltway and you see everything with Washington blinders on,” the newspaper quoted Harris as saying. “But believe me, Washington is not the real world. Cecil County is the real world.”

Harris told WBAL Saturday: “I view this as when I was in the military. You sign up for a certain amount of years. At the end of that, you look and, if the job’s not done, I’m re-upping. So at this point in time, I’m re-upping.”

Harris was re-elected in November, capturing 63.4% of the vote in defeating military veteran and transgender rights activist Mia Mason.

Harris could face a primary challenge in 2022. Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, a Republican, told The Baltimore Sun last week that he is considering running for the seat. Glassman said he also is looking at running for governor or comptroller.

Harris, a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus, was enthusiastically endorsed by President Donald Trump in June. He has continued to back Trump and the Republican’s president’s claims that Democratic President-Elect Joe Biden’s election victory should not have been certified because of election fraud or other irregularities. A number of courts and state election officials of both parties denied the president’s challenges.

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