I want to start 2024 with a hopeful thought. Next year could be the year the Eastern Shore finally unloads Andy “Handgun” Harris. A year from now, I dream, we will celebrate Dr. Harris’ retirement from politics.
It is time for Andy Harris to exit the political stage. Here is why:
Harris is an unambiguous supporter of Donald Trump and is expected to endorse his candidacy for 2024. He voted against both Trump impeachments and voted against creating the House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol. Harris is quoted as saying that Trump’s indictment in connection with January 6 “shows we live in a third world banana republic where the justice system is weaponized against political opponents.”
Harris participated in a December 21, 2020, meeting at the White House where plans were discussed on how to circumvent Trump’s loss of the 2020 presidential election. Harris’ 2022 general election opponent, Heather Mizeur, called on Harris to explain his presence at the meeting and disclose whether he later sought a pardon from Trump. Harris never responded.
Harris supported Mike Johnson as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Johnson was a principal architect of Trump’s scheme to block the certification of the 2020 election.
Shortly after the January 6, 2021, insurrection, Harris was stopped by Capitol Police for attempting to carry a loaded handgun onto the floor of the House of Representatives. Harris said he forgot he was carrying. (The incident is the reason I refer to Harris as Andy “Handgun” Harris.)
Harris is a die-hard opponent of efforts to stop gun violence. He voted against the Assault Weapons Ban Act of 2022 and the Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022.
In 2019, Harris opposed the 9/11 Victims Compensation Act. (Why?) Harris was one of only 11 Republicans who voted against the bill.
In 2019, Harris voted against extending the Violence Against Women Act. (Why?)
In 2021, Harris voted “present” on a resolution condemning QAnon conspiracy theories. The measure passed on a strong bipartisan vote with 371 “aye” votes.
Despite the importance of a clean, healthy Chesapeake Bay to First District voters, Harris regularly votes against legislation that supports efforts to improve the health of the Bay. He has earned a lifetime score of 3% by the League of Conservation Voters. In the past, Harris has questioned climate change.
Harris is an adamant opponent of abortion.
Harris is an opponent of LGBTQ+ rights.
Harris advised listeners to use ivermectin to treat COVID, a medicine most often used to rid horses and cows of parasites. The American Medical Association strongly urged against prescribing the drug other than in clinical trials. The Food and Drug Administration warned people against taking the drug.
Harris broke his promise to leave Congress after six terms. In 2021, in announcing his decision. He blamed “socialists” and “liberals” and said his work was not yet done. (What work?)
If Trump wins the Republican nomination for president in 2024 but loses the general election, it is likely that Dr. Harris will again spring into action to save the political life of his leader. Count on Trump to point to deranged lunatics, communists, and RINOs for stealing the election from him. Plans will be laid to again block certification of his opponent’s win, notwithstanding the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act. If those efforts fail, why shouldn’t we expect more violence?
There are many reasons Andy Harris should not represent the Eastern Shore (or anywhere else) in Congress. His interests are out of sync with Eastern Shore priorities. And last time I checked, an overwhelming majority of voters on the Eastern Shore still supported democracy.
A new year starts in five days. Let that year, 2024, be the year that Dr. Harris leaves Congress. Congress, and American democracy, will be healthier for it.
The Maryland primary is May 14, 2024. The deadline for candidates to file to run is February 9, 2024.
J.E. Dean is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant writing on politics, government, and other subjects.