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Andy Harris (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Andy Harris
Andy Harris 115th Congress (cropped).jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Preceded byFrank Kratovil
Member of the Maryland Senate
In office
1999 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byVernon Boozer (9th)
Norman Stone (7th)
Succeeded byRobert Kittleman (9th)
J.B. Jennings (7th)
Constituency9th district (1999-2003)
7th district (2003-2011)
Personal details
Andrew Peter Harris

(1957-01-25) January 25, 1957 (age 63)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Cookie Harris (Deceased 2014)
Nicole Beus[1]
ResidenceCockeysville, Maryland
EducationJohns Hopkins University (BS, MD, MHS)
WebsiteHouse website
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1988–2010
US-O5 insignia.svg
UnitUnited States Navy Reserve Medical Corps
Battles/warsOperation Desert Storm

Andrew Peter Harris (born January 25, 1957) is an American politician and physician who has been the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 1st congressional district since 2011. He is currently the only Republican member of Maryland's congressional delegation. Harris previously served in the Maryland Senate.

Early life, education, and career

Harris's father was Zoltán Harris, an anesthesiologist who was born in Miskolc, Hungary, in 1911 and emigrated to the United States in 1950; his mother, Irene, was born in Poland.[2] He grew up in Queens, New York, and attended Regis High School in Manhattan.[3]

Harris earned his B.S. in biology (1977) and his M.D. (1980) from The Johns Hopkins University. The University's Bloomberg School of Hygiene and Public Health conferred the M.H.S. in 1995 in Health policy and management and also Health Finance & Management.[2]

Harris served in the Navy Medical Corps and the U.S. Naval Reserve as a lieutenant commander on active duty during Operation Desert Storm and currently serves as a commander.[2] He has worked as an anesthesiologist, as an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine, and as chief of obstetric anesthesiology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Harris also served as commanding officer for the Johns Hopkins Naval Reserve Medical Unit from 1989 to 1992.[2]

Maryland General Assembly

Harris was first elected to the Maryland Senate in 1998 for District 9 for Baltimore County.[4] He defeated his predecessor, Minority Leader F. Vernon Boozer, in the 1998 primary election.[5] A major factor in the race was Boozer's role in derailing an attempt to ban partial-birth abortion a year earlier; the bill's sponsor, fellow state senator Larry Haines, supported Harris's primary bid.[6] In the general election he defeated Democratic challenger Anthony O. Blades.

His district was later redrawn to be District 7, representing Baltimore County and Harford County, succeeding Norman Stone.[7] He defeated Democratic challenger Diane DeCarlo in the general election in 2002,[8] and from 2003 to 2006 served as the minority whip.[2] In 2006 he won re-election, this time defeating Patricia A. Foerster.[9] He was succeeded by J. B. Jennings.[10]

U.S. congressional campaigns


Harris defeated incumbent Republican Wayne Gilchrest and State Senator E.J. Pipkin in the Republican primary for Maryland's 1st congressional district.[11] Harris ran well to the right of Gilchrest, one of the leading moderate Republicans in the House. He explained that he was upset with Gilchrest's decision to support a Democratic bill setting a timetable for troop withdrawal from Iraq and suspected that many of his constituents also felt that way. He was endorsed by the Club for Growth,[12] which raised nearly $250,000 for him,[13] and by former governor Bob Ehrlich,[14] seven of 10 state senators who represent parts of the district, and House Minority Leader Anthony O'Donnell.[15] His general election opponent Frank Kratovil attacked the Club for Growth's policies, and Harris for having its support.[16] Gilchrest endorsed Kratovil for the general election.[17]

The November election was expected to be very close, even though the 1st is considered to be very Republican on paper. This was partly due to the district's geography. Harris is from the Baltimore suburbs, while Kratovil was from the Eastern Shore, which is home to half the district's population. On election night, Kratovil led Harris by 915 votes. After two rounds of counting absentee ballots, Kratovil's lead grew to 2,000 votes. Forecasting that it would be nearly impossible for Harris to close the gap, most media outlets declared Kratovil the winner on the night of November 7.[18][19] Harris finally conceded on November 11. While Harris won the Baltimore suburbs handily, it was not enough to overcome his deficit on the Eastern Shore.


Harris ran again in the 1st District in 2010. He defeated Rob Fisher, a conservative businessman, in the primary.

Harris's primary win set up a rematch against Kratovil. Libertarian Richard James Davis and Independent Jack Wilson also ran. In the November 2 general election, the district reverted to form, and Harris defeated Kratovil by 14 percent.


The National Journal's Cook Political Report named Harris one of the top 10 Republicans most vulnerable to redistricting in 2012, noting that Maryland Democrats could redraw Harris's home in Cockeysville out of the 1st.[20] Instead, Roscoe Bartlett's district was redrawn so as to beat him.[21] Harris was a beneficiary of this remap, as the reconfigured 1st included Republican-leaning portions of Harford and Baltimore counties that had previously been in Bartlett's 6th district, making this already strongly Republican district even more so.

Harris skated to a second term, defeating Democratic challenger Wendy Rosen with 67 percent of the vote. Rosen had withdrawn from the race after being confronted with evidence that she'd voted in both Maryland and Florida in the 2006 and 2008 elections. Rosen had property in Florida, and Maryland law allowed property owners to vote in local elections even if they live elsewhere. However, her Florida voting registration reportedly also gave her access to state and federal elections there, something which was not allowed by Maryland law.[22][23] By the time she pulled out, however, ballots had already been printed. John LaFerla, who had narrowly lost to Rosen in the primary, was endorsed as Rosen's replacement, but could only be a write-in.


Harris defeated Democratic nominee Bill Tilghman for a third term, taking over 70 percent of the vote—his best showing as a state or federal legislator.


Harris ran for reelection in 2016. In the Republican primary, he faced three challengers and won 78.4 percent of the vote. Former Maryland state delegates member Mike Smigiel came in second place with 10.8 percent of the vote.[24] Smigiel ran because he opposed Harris' strident opposition to marijuana decriminalization in the District of Columbia.[24][25]

In the general election, Harris won another term with 229,135 votes (67.8%),[26] defeating Democratic nominee Joe Werner, a "little-known Harford County attorney and perennial candidate"[27] who received 94,776 votes (28%).[26] Libertarian candidate Matt Beers received 14,207 votes (4.2%).[26] In February 2016, Harris was the first congressman to endorse candidate Ben Carson for the Republican nomination for president.[28] Carson dropped out two weeks later following a poor performance in the Super Tuesday I March 1, 2016 primaries.[29]


While Harris was running for reelection, the Washington Post ran a story accusing him of ethics violations. "In a letter to the Office of Congressional Ethics, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews said Harris, the sole Republican on Maryland's congressional delegation, may have violated ethics rules requiring members to report the source of spousal income and assets.

"It appears Andy Harris paid his wife thousands of dollars from his campaign, then tried to hide it from government ethics regulators," Matthews said in a statement.

The Harris campaign said the omission was a mistake and the congressman amended his filing once he became aware of the error.[30]

Committee assignments

In October 2015, Harris was named to serve on the Select Investigative Panel on Planned Parenthood.[32]

Congressional Caucuses

Political positions

Affordable Care Act

Harris's prominence as a medical doctor in opposition to government-run health care made him a lightning rod for attacks by supporters of the 2010 health care legislation. At a closed-door employee benefits briefing for new congressmen during the November 2010 freshman orientation, Harris was surprised to learn that the Federal employee health benefit plan would leave the new congressmen and their staffers without coverage until the following pay period, 28 days after inauguration. Concerned about this gap in coverage, he asked whether new government employees could purchase temporary coverage to fill this gap. "This is the only employer I've ever worked for where you don't get coverage the first day you are employed," he said through his spokeswoman, Anna Nix.[34][35] Through a spokesman, his defeated opponent, Frank Kratovil, seized upon this dialogue, characterizing the question as a "demand" for special treatment and for access to the benefits he opposed in the new law.[36] Furthermore, "Harris then asked if he could purchase insurance from the government to cover the gap," added an aide, who was struck by the similarity to Harris's request and the public option he denounced as a gateway to socialized medicine.[37]

Debt ceiling

On October 16, 2013, Harris voted against the motion to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.[38]

Foreign affairs

Harris has defended Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, an ally of Vladimir Putin who has pledged to turn his country into an "illiberal democracy". Harris decried the State Departments' efforts to support free and independent media in the country.[39]

Opposition to D.C. cannabis reform

In 2014, Harris was the leading congressional critic of marijuana decriminalization in the District of Columbia bill, and led efforts in Congress to block decriminalization from taking effect.[40] Harris's amendment led to a call from D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to boycott tourism to Rep. Harris's district and the boycott of Maryland's 1st District,[41] as well as an online campaign requesting that D.C. area businesses refuse him service at their establishments.[42] In November 2014, D.C. residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalizing recreational cannabis for adults with 68% in favor.[43] Despite this, Harris said he would use "all resources available to a member of Congress to stop this action".[44] On December 9, 2014, congressional leaders announced a deal on a spending bill that included language that will prohibit the D.C. referendum from taking effect. Harris said that "the Constitution gives Congress the ultimate oversight about what happens in the federal district."[40] Harris believes that cannabis is a gateway drug[45] and has no proven medicinal use.[46]

The online publication ATTN: wrote that one of Harris' campaign contributors had a financial interest in keeping marijuana illegal. Harris' third largest campaign donor is the pharmaceutical corporation Emergent BioSolutions, based in Rockville, Maryland. One of Emergent's products is epsil, "a fast-acting treatment that reduces the pain associated with oral mucositis," which is a common complication of chemotherapy from cancer treatment. ATTN: wrote that according to medical studies, marijuana can reduce the adverse effects of chemotherapy in cancer patients, and substitute for the more dangerous opioids. In states where medical marijuana has been legalized, the number of pharmaceutical pain killers prescribed has dropped significantly.[47]

Maya Angelou

In 2016, Harris opposed legislation to rename a North Carolina post office in honor of poet Maya Angelou.[48] Harris said that her support for communism disqualified her for the honor. "She supported the Communist revolution in Cuba, and my parents escaped a communist country," Harris explained.[48]

Roy Moore

During the primary race of the 2017 special election to fill the vacated Senate seat of Jeff Sessions, Harris endorsed Roy Moore in his successful bid to defeat incumbent Sen. Luther Strange. Following the news of Moore's sexual abuse scandal, Harris did not withdraw his endorsement, saying that he would continue to support Moore unless the allegations were proven to be true.[49]

COVID-19 response

Harris opposed stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, on May 2, 2020, he addressed protestors in Salisbury attempting to pressure Maryland governor Larry Hogan to lift restrictions, stating, "I am a physician. Let me tell you something: It is safe to begin to reopen Maryland."[50] 376 Maryland deaths were attributed to COVID-19 in the week ending on that date, and 363 on the following week.[51]

Net neutrality

Harris does not support net neutrality, characterizing the FCC vote to remove net neutrality as "eliminating burdensome and unnecessary regulations."[52]

Electoral history

Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1998 Maryland Senate, District 9[53] General Andy Harris Republican 24,814 61% Anthony O. Blades Democratic 15,780 39%
2002 Maryland Senate, District 7[54] General Andy Harris Republican 23,374 57.8% Dianne DeCarlo Democratic 16,991 42.1% Write-ins 44 0.1%
2006 Maryland Senate, District 7[55] General Andy Harris Republican 23,453 56.6% Patricia A. Foerster Democratic 17,972 43.3% Write-ins 35 0.1%
2008 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district[11] Primary Andy Harris Republican 33,627 43.4% Wayne Gilchrest Republican 25,624 33.1% E.J. Pipkin Republican 15,700 20.3%
2008 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district[56] General Frank Kratovil Democratic 177,065 49.1% Andy Harris Republican 174,213 48.3% Richard James Davis Libertarian 8,873 2.5% Write-ins 35 0.1%
2010 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district[57] General Andy Harris Republican 155,118 54.1% Frank Kratovil Democratic 120,400 42.0% Richard James Davis Libertarian 10,876 3.8% Write-ins 418 0.15%
2012 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district General Andy Harris Republican 212,204 63.4% Wendy Rosen Democratic 92,812 27.5% Muir Wayne Boda Libertarian 12,857 3.8% Write-ins 17,887 5.3%
2014 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district General Andy Harris Republican 176,342 70.4% Bill Tilghman Democratic 73,843 29.5% Write-ins 233 0.1%
2016 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district[58] General Andy Harris Republican 242,574 67.0% Joe Werner Democratic 103,622 28.6% Matt Beers Libertarian 15,370 4.2% Write-ins 531 0.1%
2018 United States House of Representatives, Maryland's 1st congressional district[59] General Andy Harris Republican 183,662 60.0% Jesse Colvin Democratic 116,631 38.1% Jenica Martin Libertarian 5,744 1.9% Write-ins 149 0.0%

Personal life

Harris was married for 30 years to Sylvia "Cookie" Harris, who died of a heart attack suddenly on August 28, 2014.[60] He and the late Mrs. Harris have five children. Harris resides in Cockeysville, Maryland, and considered himself a "citizen-legislator," having maintained his medical practice while in the State Senate.[61] He remarried in July 2017 to Nicole Beus.[62] Andy Harris has been an active member in the community as a member of the Knights of Columbus, an officer in the Thornleigh Neighborhood Improvement Association (vice-president, 1984–85; president, 1985–86), a member of the Board of Directors of the Sherwood Community Association, 1987–91, and served as Vice President of St. Joseph's School Home-School Association from 1992 to 1994. Also, he has been on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Leadership Council, 1995–98, a member of the North Central Republican Club (treasurer, 1997–98; vice-president, 1998), and finally as a Delegate to the Republican Party National Convention, 2004. Harris has received the Dr. Henry P. and M. Page Laughlin Distinguished Public Officer Award from the Medical and Chirurgical Faculty of Maryland in 2001.[61]

See also


  1. ^ "Republican Women of Baltimore County - Leadership". Retrieved May 9, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e CongressmanAndy Harris: Biography. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  3. ^ Memoli, Mike. "Mr. Harris Goes to Washington". Regis Alumni News. 75 (2 (Winter 2011)): 10–11. Archived from the original on December 1, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
  4. ^ Maryland State Board of Elections. "1998 Gubernatorial Election". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  5. ^ Maryland State Board of Elections. "1998 Gubernatorial Election". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  6. ^ " 'Partial Birth' Ban Set to Pass in Md". The Washington Post. March 11, 1999.
  7. ^ "Our Campaigns - MD State Senate 7 Race - Nov 05, 2002". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  8. ^ Maryland State Board of Elections. "2002 Gubernatorial Election". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  9. ^ Maryland State Board of Elections. "Official 2006 Gubernatorial General Election results for State Senator". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  10. ^ "Our Campaigns - MD State Senate 7 Race - Nov 07, 2006". Retrieved September 13, 2015.
  11. ^ a b "Representative in Congress Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on April 9, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2008.
  12. ^ Club for Growth Endorses Andy Harris Archived September 28, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Andy Harris For Congress Press Release. August 13, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007.
  13. ^ Center for Responsive Politics
  14. ^ Ehrlich supports Harris for seat Associated Press October 19, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  15. ^ Eleven Republican Incumbents Have to Watch Their Backs in House Primaries By CQ Staff. October 2, 2007. Retrieved October 19, 2007.
  16. ^ Anti-tax group’s support not paying dividends Politico
  17. ^ Gilchrest crosses party lines, endorses Democrat Kratovil, even cutting an ad for him[permanent dead link] Baltimore Sun
  18. ^ "AP: Kratovil Winner Of 1st District Seat". WJZ-TV. Archived from the original on November 13, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  19. ^ "Maryland's 1st District". CNN. Archived from the original on November 7, 2008. Retrieved November 8, 2008.
  20. ^ David Wasserman and Julia Edwards (April 15, 2011). "Top 10 Republicans Most Vulnerable to Redistricting". Cook Political Report. National Journal. Archived from the original on May 1, 2011. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
  21. ^ John Fritze, "Delaney Defeats Bartlett in the 6th District", Baltimore Sun, November 7, 2012.
  22. ^ Brown, Matthew Hay (September 14, 2012). "Democrat withdraws from 1st District congressional race after allegations she voted in two states". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  23. ^ "The lesson of Wendy Rosen". The Baltimore Sun. September 11, 2012. Retrieved September 15, 2012.
  24. ^ a b Rachel Kurzius, Sorry, D.C.—Andy Harris Won His Primary Race Archived March 10, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, DCist (April 27, 2016).
  25. ^ Jacobs, Benjamin (March 19, 2015). "Washington DC's legal weed debate spills over into Maryland politics". The Guardian. Retrieved March 21, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c Maryland U.S. House 1st District: Results: Andy Harris Wins, New York Times (December 13, 2016).
  27. ^ Benjamin Freed, Activists Tried to Defeat the Maryland Congressman Who Messed With DC’s Pot Laws. Here’s Why They Failed, Washingtonian (April 27, 2016).
  28. ^ Cheney, Kyle (February 17, 2016). "Ben Carson gets his first congressional endorsement". Politico. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  29. ^ Robert Costa; Ben Terris (March 2, 2016). "Ben Carson tells supporters he sees no 'path forward' for presidential campaign". The Washington Post.
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Member List". Republican Study Committee. Retrieved December 21, 2017.
  32. ^ Paul Kane (October 23, 2015). "Boehner's next select committee, focusing on Planned Parenthood, to be led by Marsha Blackburn". Washington Post. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
  33. ^ "What is the House Freedom Caucus, and who's in it?". Pew research center. October 20, 2015. Retrieved October 26, 2017.
  34. ^ "Republican Rep.-Elect Refutes Claim He Lost It Over Congressional Health Care Rules". Fox News. November 17, 2010.
  35. ^ Condon, Stephanie (November 16, 2010). "House GOP Freshman Demands Gov't Health Care". CBS News.
  36. ^ Paul West, "Rep.-elect Harris snagged in health care flap," The Baltimore Sun, Nov. 16, 2010.
  37. ^ Glen Thrush, "GOP frosh: Where's my health care?" Politico, Nov. 15, 2010.
  38. ^ Washington Post, October 16/17, 2013. "Votes to end the government shutdown".
  39. ^ Rodricks, Dan (March 4, 2018). "Rep. Andy Harris supporting Putin pal in Hungary". The Baltimore Sun. Baltimore.
  40. ^ a b Davis, Aaron; O'Keefe, Ed (December 9, 2014). "Congressional spending deal blocks pot legalization in D.C." Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  41. ^ DeBonis, Mike (July 2, 2014). "D.C. residents urged to boycott Md. shore to protest congressman's marijuana move". Washington Post. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  42. ^ "Blacklist Andy Harris – A District of Columbia Protest". Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  43. ^ Ferner, Matt (November 4, 2014). "Washington, D.C. Votes To Legalize Recreational Marijuana". Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  44. ^ Davis, Aaron (November 5, 2014). "House Republican vows to upend D.C. ballot measure legalizing marijuana". Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  45. ^ Raju, Manu; Topaz, Jonathan. "D.C. pot fight puts GOP in an awkward spot". Retrieved December 11, 2014.
  46. ^ "Rep. Harris Debates Medical Marijuana on House Floor (5/29/14) | Congressman Andy Harris". May 30, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  47. ^ Matthew Segal (December 11, 2014). "One Congressman Just Ruined Legalized Marijuana in DC For Everyone. Here's Why". ATTN. Retrieved July 23, 2015.
  48. ^ a b Fritze, John (March 1, 2016). "Rep. Andy Harris votes against naming post office after Maya Angelou". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  49. ^ "Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland and Virginia Senate hopeful Corey Steward endorsed Roy Moore. Now What?". November 13, 2017. Retrieved November 18, 2017.
  50. ^ Nirappil, Fenit; Schmidt, Samantha; Ruane, Michael E. (May 2, 2020). "Military jets salute workers on front line as more coronavirus cases and deaths are reported". Washington Post. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  51. ^ nytimes/covid-19-data, The New York Times, May 13, 2020, retrieved May 13, 2020
  52. ^ "Response of congressman Andy Harris to net neutrality petition". Imgur. Retrieved May 29, 2018.
  53. ^ "State Senate Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved on Oct 9, 2007
  54. ^ "State Senate Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved on Oct 9, 2007
  55. ^ "State Senate Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved on Oct 9, 2007
  56. ^ "Representative in Congress Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved June 14, 2009.
  57. ^ "Representative in Congress Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved November 6, 2011.
  58. ^ "Representative in Congress Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  59. ^ "Representative in Congress Results". Maryland State Board of Elections. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  60. ^ Rep. Andy Harris' wife dies after heart attack, WBALTV
  61. ^ a b Maryland Senate Archives Biography
  62. ^ "Rep. Andy Harris accused of ethical violation for failing to disclose wife's income". Washington Post. October 17, 2018.

External links

Maryland Senate
Preceded by
Vernon Boozer
Member of the Maryland Senate
from the 9th district

Succeeded by
Robert Kittleman
Preceded by
Norman Stone
Member of the Maryland Senate
from the 7th district

Succeeded by
J. B. Jennings
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
Frank Kratovil
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 1st congressional district

U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Morgan Griffith
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Vicky Hartzler
This page was last edited on 29 July 2020, at 23:50
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