The Democratic Party has a new challenger to Rep. Andy Harris in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District, after voter fraud allegations ended the previous candidate’s bid, but the odds of his beating the incumbent are slim. The party had scrambled for a replacement since its primary winner Wendy Rosen had to drop out of the race on Sept. 10, after confirming reports that she had voted in two different states in more than one election. Now, after a week-long search, the party has thrown its support behind John LaFerla, the 63-year-old gynecologist from Chestertown, who had lost in the primary to Rosen by just 57 votes.
In addition, LaFerla has won the backing of the former Republican congressman from the district, Wayne Gilchrest, who lost to Harris in the 2008 primary election. But because LaFerla is late entering the campaign he will have to run as a write-in candidate, a distinct disadvantage.
“We’ve talked to the State Board of Elections, and unfortunately we’re past the date, which leaves us with no legal means to add someone to the ballot,” said Matthew Verghese, the Maryland Democratic Party political and communications director. “The party understands the reality of waging a write-in campaign.”