Let us be clear here: No one running in the Democratic Primary for Maryland’s First Congressional District has any realistic shot at beating Andy Harris. Frank Kratovil’s victory in 2008 required a perfect storm (and Kratovil lost by double digits in 2010). The district was made even more Republican in the most recent round of gerrymandering (trading swingy Anne Arundel Precincts for dark red territory in Carroll, Baltimore and Harford Counties). Andy Harris will likely hold this seat until 2022 when Mike Miller decides to eliminate the last Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation via redistricting.
All that being said, two exceptionally strong candidates are duking it out for the right to be the standard bearer for the Team Blue come November.
On one side you have John Laferla–a surgeon and former Chairman of the Kent County Democratic Central Committee. He narrowly lost the 2012 Primary to Made in America Activist Wendy Rosen (who subsequently dropped out following allegations that she had committed voter fraud). During the primary, he received endorsements from NARAL Pro Choice MD, Planned Parenthood, former US senator John Breaux and former Republican MD-01 Congressmen Wayne Gilchrist. Following Rosen’s withdrawal Laferla ran with the party blessing as a write in candidate. My spies tell me Laferla has retained Dave Goodman of Trublu Politics as his Direct Mail Consultant.
The other candidate is Bill Tilghman–a wealthy retired attorney (Piper Marbury now DLA Piper) and business executive with Marriott. He has also been involved in several start ups. The Tilghman family has been historically been prominent on the Eastern Shore. Tilghman has a highly qualified Finance Director and my spies tell me he has hired Main Street Communications as his Media Consultant.
Both would be far stronger nominees than one would expect to see in this district. It is unclear who has the edge here.
Primary Rating: Toss Up.
General Election Rating : Safe Republican