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October 29, 2010

Democrats promoting Libertarian to undermine Harris

In what appears to be a national pattern, the Democratic Party is highlighting a longshot third-party candidate in an effort to undermine a Republican nominee--in this case, Andy Harris, the GOP challenger in Maryland's tightest House race.

The tactic is either a desperation move, or a sign of how close the contest is, or both. It has special resonance in Maryland's First District, where the Libertarian candidate's two percent of the vote arguably tipped the historically Republican seat to Democrat Frank Kratovil in '08.

The Democratic mailer, first reported by Eastern Shore blogger Michael Swartz, masquerades as an attack on Richard Davis, the third man in the race, running again this year on the Libertarian line, with no realistic chance of winning.

Paid for by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the flier describes Davis, twice, as an outsider and Tea Party type.

Davis "plans to cut government spending, will drastically reduce the size of government across the board, is a complete outsider . . . Davis and the Tea Party think government is part of the problem, and want to make it as small as possible."

"Richard Davis: Is he too conservative?" asks the mail piece.

The audience for the flier appears to be conservative voters. The barely disguised ploy to pull votes away from the Republican is a tactic Democrats are using elsewhere, too.

In Illinois, Democrats are promoting another Libertarian candidate, Mike Labno, in an attempt to cut into Republican Senate nominee Mark Kirk's support in conservative southern Illinois, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.

A second mailer that portrays the Libertarian as more serious than Harris about deficit reduction also went out recently in the district, according to blogger Mark Newgent. The piece does not say who paid for it, but Davis has issued a statement saying that neither he nor the Libertarian Party had any involvement in the mailing.

In 2008, Davis got 8,873 votes in the First District, which takes in the entire Eastern Shore and portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties. That was more than double Kratovil's 2,852-vote victory margin. If the Libertarian had not been on the ballot, some Republicans believe, enough of those votes would have gone to Harris to change the outcome of the election.

"Obviously the Democrats are scrambling to try to get this race closer. They know Andy is pulling away in the polls, and it's an obvious Hail Mary attempt," Harris campaign spokeswoman Anna Nix said of the fliers. "They're pulling out all the tricks in the books, across the nation and in Maryland One, to try to get this race competitive again."

Posted by Paul West at 5:00 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Candidate Watch 2010


Freakin genius. As a moderate Republican, this actually makes me want to send money to the Democratic Campaign Committee. To the tea-partiers I say: Live by the dopey anti-government cliches, die by the dopey anti-government cliches.

The Republicans consistently complained that Dr. Richard Davis took votes away from Andy Harris.

Why did that happen?

Because many people were turned off to Andy Harris on the shore by his nasty campaign against Wayne Gilchrest and E.J. Pipkin.

However, I can say that there are many Democrats who have told me they are voting for Dr. Davis.

Republicans say they don't like Harris and can't bring themselves to vote for a Democrat. Democrats (anti-war Democrats) say they are not very happy with Kratovil and would never vote for a Republican.

We will see Tuesday how well this played out.

I am not voting for Harris, Kratovil, or Davis! There is a write in candidate, Mike Kennedy, who has but one promise: "To protect and preserve our citizens safety, security, and prosperity on the Eastern Shore." His goals are briefly: to increase S.S.I. benefits, to offer foreclosure assistance, to give the taxpayers a $2500 stimulus, to block the $350 billion dollars earmarked by Congress to subsidize major corporations and credit card companies while giving it to small businesses instead, to bring our troops home, and to improve education while making college more affordable. He is the only candidate who has plans for funding these changes that DO NOT require tax payers digging deeper into their pockets. Vote for Mike Kennedy, write in candidate for the Congressional Representative District 1 and sleep Tuesday night with peace of mind that MD is now headed in the right direction. Mr. Kennedy is "unaffiliated" as he believes too much emphasis is on the parties instead of on the people as it should be! Mr. Kennedy does not share in the millions of dollars campaign fund, so he will not make the tax payers pay for any of his promises to those who donated to his campaign. His only promise is to the people of MD as they are the people he will be working for!

I live on the Eastern Shore in Salisbury. Our local paper(the only one we have here) endorsed a Libertarian for a seat on the County Council. I'm told this is the first time in Md history in which a newspaper has endorsed someone from that party.

These antics clearly show why we need to replace our first-past-the-post, winner-takes-all plurality voting system with Instant-Runoff-Voting (IRV) where no one can be elected without majority support. For more information on election reform please visit

Because many people were turned off to Andy Harris on the shore by his nasty campaign against Wayne Gilchrest and E.J. Pipkin.

I have to agree somewhat what Muir Boda said.

However both Harris as well as Kratovil's has run such a negative campaign against each other. I would like to have anyone in there but those two.

Its time to send a message to our elected leaders. You run a negative campaign with little information on why we should elect you.

Risk losing your job or risk losing the office that you seek.

Enough is Enough.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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