When now Congressman Andy Harris first ran against former GOP State Senator Vernon Boozer – and knocked him off in the primary, mind you, to eventually be elected to the State Senate – in 1996 or 1998, he quickly garnered quite a nickname during the campaign. Hell, he may not even know it to this day – but that fine fall some 17 or 19 years ago, Doctor Harris was quite frequently referred to as “Skeletor.” Yeah, Skeletor – that skull-guy from “Masters of the Universe.”
I mention that now, for no other purpose than to be a bit gratuitous…not to mention supply a bit of old-time charm to this otherwise non-charming piece.
If you’ve heard, as I have, that Andy Harris is particularly vulnerable in the upcoming primary for 2016, than you’ve also likely heard about any number of potential candidates for Harris’ Congressional Seat in MD CD 1.
The top tier candidates whose names I’ve heard have ranged from State Senator JB Jennings to Delegate Kathy Szeliga to former Delegates Jeannie Haddaway Riccio and Mike Smigiel.
Well, Senator Jennings has made it clear that he will run if, and only if, Skeletor doesn’t seek reelection. And, Kathy Szeliga, who hasn’t said a word that I’m aware of – likely because Skeletor hasn’t yet told her she can discuss any potential race – are more than likely non-entities when it comes to running for Congress next year. As for Jeannie Haddaway Riccio, I don’t see her running because of her newly appointed state job…which leaves us only with Michael Smigiel as the one whom I believe to be a definite Andy Harris opponent in 2016.
And, luckily for Smigiel, it appears he will be running against a target rich environment. And, I’m not even talking whatsoever about Andy Harris’ penchant of being arrogantly dismissive of damned near everyone…or is that dismissively arrogant?
A target rich environment, I say? Indeed, I do – a target rich environment which includes:
*His DC Congressional office bought drinks for an office party for an underage intern, and served her said drinks.
*Skeletor attempted blocking DC’s decriminalization of marijuana. Who did Skeletor do THAT for – was it because he likes locking people up for interminably long period of time, or on behalf of his big pharmabuddies? Either way, it begs the question: Who in the Hell does Andy Harris think he is? Oh, that’s right…a big government nanny statist, that’s who.
But, fear not, dear readers who happen to be stoners! Skeletor’s attempts at blocking DC decriminalization were beaten down by the VOTERS of DC. So, effective February 26th of this year, small amounts of pot in DC won’t land your ass in jail.
Understand what I just wrote above – Despite the fact that Harris’ office paid for booze which was served to an underage female intern, a MINOR, at a party in his DC office, the Congressman then goes to tell ADULTS that you can’t partake of a few ounces of pot. Hypocritical much?
(Let’s get hypocritical, hypocritical…)
Anyway, Skeletor’s foibles go far deeper than whether minors get drunk or adults get stoned. In fact, this staunch “conservative” has also voted for warrantless wire taps – I mean, seriously, privacy – who needs it? In addition to that, he has also voted “Yes” when it came to increasing the debt limit.
Finally, Freedom Works rated him as a C- through 2014 and the National Small Business Association gave him a barely passing rating of D+. So much for the freedom loving, pro-business Republican Congressman from MD’s 1st Congressional District being either freedom loving or pro-business…
Now, to be fair, Andy Harris did do some good for the state GOP last election. From what I’ve been told, he pretty much paid for all of the GOP Victory Centers throughout the state. But, that still doesn’t automatically guarantee he’ll get state party backing if he runs for reelection – and faces a primary opponent. Nor should he. When considering writing this piece earlier today, I emailed the following (verbatim) question to MDGOP Chair, Diana Waterman:
“What is the MDGOP’s position in the following scenario? An incumbent GOP officeholder at any level of government gets a primary challenger? Who does the MDGOP support – the incumbent, the challenger…both or neither?”
Chairwoman Waterman replied (again verbatim):
“The Party has no official position on this. However, I have encouraged State Party officials and County Parties not to get involved pre-Primary (which Waterman later explained also meant ‘during” the primary) excluding the presidential campaigns which function differently.”
In addition, she sent me the following (also verbatim):
“from the bylaws: 5.4. Political Activity of Members. No member of the State Central Committee shall sponsor or endorse any candidate of a political party other than the Republican Party in connection with any partisan election or primary in which there is a Republican candidate. Failure of a member of the State Central Committee to comply with the foregoing standard shall subject such person to such sanctions as may be imposed by the State Central Committee, which may include a vote of censure and/or a request for the resignation of that member.”
So, what the Hell happened with the Bob Ehrlich/Brian Murphy primary race for Governor in 2010 and all of that Article 11 nonsense?
I also asked Diana Waterman about Article 11, which garnered the following response:
“With an earlier primary date, I doubt it will ever come up again. You never know, but I just don’t see it happening.”
We shall see. I, for one, will be watching this unfolding drama very closely.
And, for those of you who will scoff at me for saying that Andy Harris is particularly vulnerable, I have two words for you: Eric Cantor.
Could Michael Smigiel be the next David Brat? If you don’t know who David Brat is, feel free to look him up.
You just might learn something.