Representative Harris does not rule out running in another district

The General Assembly meets next week in a special session to redesign the district lines of Congress. The outcome could determine whether Congressman Andy Harris decides to run in another district.

The Legislative Redistribution Advisory Committee passed a card on a party line vote last week that would make the First District more competitive for the six Republican terms.

Harris says the card is clearly meant for him.

“The Democrats can’t beat me at the polls, so they’re going to beat me in the gerrymander vote, or at least they’re going to try to do it.”

Harris said he was not ruling out running in another congressional district, based on the card approved by the legislature. Members of Congress do not have to live in their district.

“It depends on who, what other candidates, the Republican candidates appear in some of the other districts,” Harris said. “My notoriety is pretty widespread throughout the state, especially among Republicans. And again, I could run in at least three or four of the districts.

Several people who want Harris not to be in Congress were quick to speak at a recent hearing held by the Legislative Redistribution Advisory Board. They want the front lines of the district to be redesigned to increase Harris’ chances of losing.

Beth Connor, who owns a home in the First District, called Harris a threat to our democracy by “turning her back on our constitution by failing to certify multiple states after President Biden won.”

“Andy Harris has chosen to support the losing candidate and his nefarious actions and his promotion of the insurgency,” she said.

Gregory Pearson, who lives in the first district, put it so.

“In recent years, he has stung many residents he represents by voting against the certification of the results of the 2020 presidential election and also against honoring the police who repelled an attack on the capital on January 6. 2021. “

Harris said he voted against honoring officers because the bill incorrectly used the word insurgency.

The first district, which includes the east coast, was majority Republican, and Harris was easily re-elected. The Redistricting Advisory Commission is proposing a map that makes the district more competitive by adding portions of Anne Arundel County.

This congressional card gets an “F” grade for partisan fairness, according to an analysis by the Princeton Gerrymandering Project. What might get Harris thinking about running in another district is that while this card would make the former a tossup, the other seven congressional districts would strongly favor the Democrats.

The current congressional map, adopted by Democrats 10 years ago, is considered one of the most gerrymandered in the country. Iconic for this is a location at the intersection of York and Cockeysville highways in Baltimore County where three congressional districts meet, the first, second, and seventh.

For example, the Seventh District winds through parts of Howard County and the City of Baltimore, then takes a narrow path north through western Baltimore County, before descending south to Cockeysville. .

Republicans fear that the proposed map for the next 10 years will be changed just as much.

The two GOP lawmakers on the seven-member Redistribution Advisory Committee voted against the proposed map. Prior to this vote, parliamentary minority leader Jason Buckel targeted the sprawling third congressional district.

Buckel asked, “Is there a specific reason for trying to connect six counties together from almost the DC line to the Pennsylvania line in this way?”

Senate Speaker Bill Ferguson, who also sits on the committee, defended congressional districts crossing multiple counties because he said it allows for regional economic planning.

“The prospect of multiple jurisdictions thinking regionally will be what would be a useful feature for representation in the US Congress given the nature of our state,” Ferguson said.

The proposed map divides the city of Baltimore and the county of Baltimore between three seats of Congress. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, according to 3rd District Democratic Congressman John Sarbanes.

“People have different opinions on this,” Sarbanes said. “Some would say, well, if a jurisdiction has two or three votes in the delegation, then when it comes to promoting important priorities, that helps. “

But Baltimore County Republican Councilor David Marks disagrees,

“It dilutes our political power,” Marks said. “I mean we’re one of the largest jurisdictions in the state and we’re cut off in all directions. And for voters, they don’t know where to turn. It is extremely confusing.

Former Maryland Secretary of State John Willis, who teaches public and international affairs at the University of Baltimore, said ahead of next week’s special session, members of Congress in Maryland are letting lawmakers know state whatever they want.

Willis said: “They know the potential consequences of every change of line.”

These line changes will be controlled by the Democrats, who have a veto-proof majority in both Maryland House and the Senate.

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