A certain meddlesome congressman from Maryland could be in for a tough primary race this year.
First District Rep. Andy Harris faces a handful of challengers for the Republican nomination. One of those challengers, former State Delegate Michael Smigiel, says he’s well-positioned to oust the incumbent after a favorable survey came out this week.
The poll, conducted by Gravis Marketing earlier this month, found that 58 percent of 616 randomly selected Republican voters who reside in the First District said they would vote for Smigiel, or double the 29 percent who said they’d vote to reelect Harris. Eleven percent indicated they would vote for State Police Commander Sean Jackson, whereas two percent said they’d vote for Jonathan Goff, whom Harris beat in the 2014 Republican primary.
“I understand that Republican voters are frustrated and angry with Establishment Republicans who continue to place politics over people and party over principles, yet I’m surprised at the level of discontent the survey showed when voters were exposed to the actual votes and extreme positions taken by Congressman Harri,” Smigiel stated.
A spokesperson for Harris, Shelby Hodgkins, has not returned City Desk’s request for comment on Wednesday.
According to a release by Smigiel, 59 percent of those surveyed indicated they would be less likely to vote for Harris “because of his anti-marijuana, anti-state’s rights stance,” which he evinced in trying to block D.C. marijuana laws a few years back. Justin Robinson, the founder of non-partisan, pro-statehood Not Your District PAC, says he was encouraged by the poll’s “refreshing” results. Harris’ constituents, Robinson added, have recognized his “hypocrisy” when it comes to issues germane to states’ rights and local control.
“If we’re going to have a Republican in that seat, we want one that’s not going to interfere with D.C.,” he explained.
The primary election will take place in April.
Update 1:33 p.m.: In an email, Shelby Hodgkins, Harris’ spokesperson, provided the following statement: “There will be time later in the year for debates and campaigning. Right now Congressman Harris is focusing on taking care of the First Congressional District, especially cutting taxes and regulations that strangle our economy.”
Photo from Andy Harris’ website