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Maryland: Environmental Group Hopes to Dirty Harris

Three weeks after state Sen. Andy Harris (R) launched the first television ad of his campaign to unseat Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R) in the 1st district’s GOP primary, the League of Conservation Voters has begun running ads calling Harris “just another Baltimore politician” who is out of touch with the Eastern-Shore-based district.

The ad, which will appear on cable and broadcast stations in the district, comes just days after the national LCV and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters announced their joint endorsement of Gilchrest. In a news release this week, Maryland LCV Executive Director Cindy Schwartz called Gilchrest, who is an avid outdoorsman, “a champion for Maryland’s environment — from protecting our Chesapeake Bay and waterways to preserving our open spaces.”

Gilchrest is an outspoken moderate who has been challenged from the right in past primaries, but Harris appears to be his toughest challenge yet. Harris is a physician and Navy Reserve officer who outraised Gilchrest in the third quarter of the year — the Congressman does not accept money from political action committees — and has drawn almost even in cash-on-hand totals. Harris can count the potent Club for Growth among his endorsements.

With an early Feb. 12 primary date looming, this race is only going to continue to heat up over the coming winter months.

— John McArdle

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