Former GOP Hill staffer to run in 2nd District
While much of the political focus in Maryland has centered on House seats held by Reps. Roscoe G. Bartlett and Donna F. Edwards, another district – held by Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Baltimore County Democrat – has also drawn a burgeoning list of potential challengers. The latest in the mix: Larry Smith, a former Republican Capitol Hill staffer who will announce his candidacy early next month.
Smith, a 46-year-old Timonium resident and former thoroughbred trainer who most recently worked as a legislative aide to GOP Rep. Andy Harris, said he believes his military background will appeal to voters in the 2nd District, which includes Fort Meade and Aberdeen Proving Ground. Smith, a reservist who served for seven months in Afghanistan in 2010, will formally jump into the race Nov. 7 at an event in Cockeysville.
“I couldn’t wait any longer,” said Smith, who said he decided to run for the seat in part because of the incumbent's votes in favor of raising the nation’s debt ceiling and the health care overhaul legislation pushed by President Barack Obama. “I would call myself a No Labels Republican who was inspired by the principles the Tea Party was formed by.”
To be sure, any Republican in the 2nd District will face an uphill battle against Ruppersberger, a former county executive who has effectively parlayed his role as the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee into national prominence. He has also courted military families, creating a national program that coordinates the donation of air miles to service members and their families, for instance. The congressman has benefited from decent fundraising and has just over $414,000 in the bank.
Ruppersberger’s district, which includes Harford, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard counties, along with a part of Baltimore city, actually became slightly more safe for Democrats after last week’s redistricting by the General Assembly. In the new district, 61.5 percent of voters chose Obama in 2008, compared with 60.7 percent in the old district.
Yet a growing number of Republicans are eyeing the seat. State Del. Patrick McDonough has said he is considering running against Ruppersberger or running for U.S. Senate next year. State Sen. Nancy Jacobs stepped down from her position as Senate Minority Leader last week to consider a possible run against Ruppersberger – or a campaign for governor or Harford County executive.