Wendy W. Rosen of Cockeysville is the first Democrat to announce a campaign for the 1st Congressional District.
The district is represented by Republican incumbent Rep. Andrew P. Harris (D-Dist. 1) of Cockeysville, who is expected to seek re-election in 2012.
Rosen, 57, who has a background in arts advocacy and works to promote domestic products as the founder of the American Made Alliance, has no prior political experience and said she will focus her campaign on job creation.
“I know how one executive order could create maybe 100,000 in 90 days,” Rosen said. “These are things that don’t impact our national budget or our deficit; they are just things that make sense.”
In addition to founding the alliance, Rosen serves as publisher of two art-focused magazines, AmericanStyle and Niche.
Rosen, who until a few years ago was a registered Republican, said she is not worried about convincing conservative voters to support her and thinks her jobs platform will resonate across the 1st District, which encompasses the Eastern Shore and stretches as far west as Carroll County.
“I also believe … that this coming election, that people will look at people like me with very little or no political background more seriously,” she said. “Especially when we have extensive background in what the country needs at the moment, which is jobs and economic development.”
Authors of a redistricting plan approved by the General Assembly in October admit the new 1st District will be difficult for a Democrat to win. Instead of moving boundaries to give their party an advantage on the Eastern Shore, Democratic leaders targeted the Republican-held 6th District in western Maryland, hoping to unseat Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-Dist 6) of Buckeystown, who has held the seat for two decades.
Observers also have said the Democrats’ best hope for election would have been former congressman Frank M. Kratovil Jr., who said earlier this month that he will not attempt to win back the seat.
Kratovil was the only candidate who had a chance at beating Harris, who handily won the 2010 race with a roughly 13-point margin, said Laura Mitchell, a Salisbury city councilwoman.
“I would say it’s a disappointment, not a surprise,” Mitchell said a week after Kratovil announced at a dinner sponsored by the Wicomico County Democratic Central Committee that he won’t run in 2012.
Kratovil, who served just one term, might have enough name recognition to have given Harris a significant challenge, some observers said.
Kratovil could have benefited by the likelihood that the 2012 elections will be successful for Democrats, mirroring a national trend that carried him to office in 2008, said Todd Eberly, a professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
“If [Democrats] can’t get him to run, it’s going to be a little more difficult for them because they’re going to have to go through the building of name recognition and get over the fact that it is now more of a Republican district than it was before,” Eberly said.