Maryland: Harris Leaves Door Open to 2010 Run

Posted December 8, 2008 at 6:22pm

State Sen. Andy Harris (R), who is coming off a narrow defeat in the Eastern Shore-based 1st district, has officially filed his statement of candidacy with the Federal Election Commission so he can begin raising money in case he decides to run again in 2010.

“I think a definite decision probably wouldn’t be … until January of 2010 or so,” Harris said Monday. “We plan to be in a very good position at that time, so if we make it final at that point we’ll have raised a reasonable amount of money in the account and [be] positioned to win back the seat.”

Besides Harris, several other Republican names are already being mentioned as potential GOP contenders against Rep.-elect Frank Kratovil (D) in what is one of the two most conservative districts in the state. They include state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who finished third in the 1st district GOP primary this year, and two state Delegates, Jeannie Haddaway, whose district lies on the Eastern Shore, and Steven Schuh, from Anne Arundel County.

But Harris, who knocked off moderate Rep. Wayne Gilchrest in the GOP primary and came less than 1 point from winning the seat last month, said he believes he’d have the inside edge in a possible 2010 primary race.

“We’ve established some organization in the Republican party in all 12 counties in the district,” Harris said. “We’d be looking to the general election as the real challenge, which is the opposite way we approached the last election.”

Although the 2008 primary was held in February and was followed by a long period of fundraising leading up to the general election, the 2010 primary in Maryland will take place in September with a relatively short turnaround time before the November elections. That being the case, a strong fundraising ability will certainly be key for any GOP candidate against Kratovil.

Republicans can be sure that Democrats will be very interested in keeping the 1st district in the Democratic column, especially with House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen both hailing from Maryland.