Time for Andy Harris to Go

The Congressman's tacit support for sedition shows it's time for him to move on

I’ve had a very up and down relationship with Congressman Andy Harris over the years. I opposed his election in 2008, but came around over the years because he was, at the time, a solid voice for conservative values in Congress. We often interviewed him, and we had him and he was a speaker at both the 2019 and 2020 Red Maryland Leadership Conferences.

Last week, I demanded the resignation or expulsion of all members of Congress who foolishly voted not to certify the 2020 Presidential Election results. Harris was one of those. I didn’t think it could get worse than that. But it did. As Congressman Harris didn’t even show up to vote on articles of impeachment against the President of the United States.

This does not pass the smell test. It has been known for a week that the impeachment vote was coming this week in Congress. There is no reason why Dr. Harris could not trade shifts with another practitioner to allow Congressman Harris to show up to work when he was supposed to. Congressman Harrismakes $174,000 a year to represent the constituents of the 1st Congressional District. You’d think that the least they could get from the Congressman would be going to work when he’s supposed to cast a vote supporting a President who remains extremely popular in his district.

Harris’s answer is even more illogical when you consider that Harris calls impeachment a “pointless exercise”. That answer might fly a little better if Harris had not participated in the pointless exercise of opposing the certification of the Presidential election results in several states the same day pro-Trump extremists invaded the Capitol and disrupted the very body in which Harris sits in a violent attempted coup d’etat. That Harris thinks kowtowing to the violent mob is meaningful and punishing the President for inciting the said mob is pointless shows that Harris’s judgment can no longer be trusted.

And his reaction is even more absurd when you consider that thanks to the pandemic Congress is allowing its members to vote by proxy. Harris could have submitted a proxy to another member for his vote on impeachment. But instead, Harris just ducked the vote like a coward.

Harris should resign. If he doesn’t resign, he should face a formidable primary challenger.

Harris has run for Congress seven times, winning all seven primaries:

You can see that, except for 2012, Harris has always faced a primary challenger of some sort. In 2008, Harris was the primary challenger defeating incumbent Wayne Gilchrest (Harris went on to lose the general election to one-termer, now Judge Frank Kratovil). But Harris has rarely faced a serious challenge. The most “serious” challenge to Harris in recent years was from Michael Smigiel, a self-important lawyer and former Delegate who pulled off the trick of losing three elections for three different offices in three different election cycles.

The point of all of this is that Harris hasn’t had to run a serious campaign in ten years, particularly in the primary. The combination of this and redistricting will make Harris more vulnerable than he has been in recent elections, particularly in the primary.

Recent comments by Harford County Executive Barry Glassman make me think maybe he is considering the race:

During the mob violence Wednesday afternoon, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman 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,’” Glassman, a Republican wrote, citing Lincoln.

In an email, he added: “I am embarrassed that our Congressman Harris was part of such a(n) act of sedition.”

That’s a pretty forceful statement from Glassman. Glassman is term-limited as County Executive and while speculation on Glassman has centered on potential races for Governor or Comptroller, Glassman’s legislative experience in Annapolis would work well should he run for Congress. Especially if Harris winds up running in a more compact district that includes more of Harford County.

There are others who might be viable candidates as well. Secretary of Natural Resources Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio has long been considered a potential candidate for Congress. State Senator Steve Hershey, State Senator Mary Beth Carrozza, or Delegate Carl Anderton could all be viable candidates as well (though Anderton will likely run for Wicomico County Executive).

Harris promised that he would only serve six terms in Congress when he was first elected in 2010. That promise though probably doesn't mean very much when he couldn’t even live up to his Oath of Office by failing to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. If Harris doesn’t leave on his own, voters must show him the door.