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After Capitol riot, electoral challenge, 2014 Maryland gubernatorial candidate Mizeur to seek Rep. Andy Harris’ seat

Democrat Heather Mizeur, a former state delegate and 2014 gubernatorial candidate, will seek next year to unseat six-term U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, the lone Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation.

In a news release Thursday announcing her decision, Mizeur, 48, referenced Harris’ efforts to contest the Electoral College count in which Democrat Joe Biden won the presidency over Republican Donald Trump. Harris was a leader in arguing on behalf of Trump’s unfounded contention that some election results must be dismissed because of fraud or other irregularities.

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Harris, Mizeur said, was among a group of Republican lawmakers committing “an unforgivable betrayal” by not protecting the nation’s system of democracy.

“The events of January 6 have forever changed us,” Mizeur said, referring to the electoral challenge and the siege of the U.S. Capitol that day by a mob supporting Trump’s efforts to remain in office.

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Harris has not budged in his support of Trump and has said there is no connection between his election objections and the siege, in which four rioters and a Capitol Police officer died.

“I have routinely and consistently rejected violent protests, whether in the case of yesterday, or last summer,” the congressman said in a Jan. 7 written statement, apparently referring to racial justice demonstrations following the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck.

Harris, 64, is a physician who lives in Cockeysville. Asked by The Baltimore Sun for reaction to Mizeur’s candidacy, the Harris campaign issued a statement Thursday.

“Congressman Harris is busy continuing to work on the needs of the 1st Congressional District, as he has for the past 10 years, and is continuing his important work on the Appropriations Committee,” the statement said. “With the next election over 21 months away, he is not focused on other campaigns.”

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Incumbents typically possess advantages in fundraising and media attention. Harris has about $1 million in his campaign account, according to his latest Federal Election Commission filing.

Also, Harris represents the gerrymandered 1st Congressional District, which the Democrat-controlled General Assembly packed with Republican voters after the 2010 census to maximize Democrats’ chances in the state’s seven other districts. The 1st District is made up of parts of the counties of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford, as well as the Eastern Shore.

It has elected Harris to six terms and voted strongly Republican in recent presidential elections.

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman has told The Baltimore Sun he is considering challenging Harris in the 2022 GOP primary. Glassman is also considering statewide campaigns for governor or comptroller next year.

Mizeur (pronounced mih-ZEER) lost her bid to Anthony Brown in 2014 to become the Democratic nominee for governor. Republican Larry Hogan defeated Brown in the general election and won a second term four years later.

Mizeur sought to become the state’s first female governor and the first openly gay person to be elected governor in the country. Her proposals then included a vow to raise the state’s minimum wage to $16.70 an hour and to pay for universal preschool by taxing legalized marijuana.

After the election, Mizeur retreated to her farm in Chestertown in Kent County on the Eastern Shore before reemerging on the political scene with a new organization with the goal of bridging political divisions in society.

Maryland’s 10-member congressional delegation, eight representatives and two senators, is all male.

Harris promised in 2010 to serve no more than six terms. But he told WBAL-AM recently that he planned to seek a seventh term. “The bottom line is this fight is not over,” he told the station. “We have serious threats and in the end, it’s going to be up to the people in the 1st Congressional District.”

Mizeur filed a statement of organization Wednesday with the FEC for Heather Mizeur for Congress, based in Chestertown.

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