A Chestertown physician who narrowly lost by 57 votes in the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District in April is reviving his campaign team to run against U.S. Rep. Andrew P. Harris.
John LaFerla, 63, joins the race against Harris (R) of Cockeysville after Wendy Rosen, who defeated LaFerla in the primary, withdrew after the Maryland Democratic Party learned she had voted in both Maryland and Florida in previous elections. Rosen’s withdrawal was too late for her name to be removed from the Nov. 6 ballot, and LaFerla will be a write-in candidate.
“We’re pulling a team together very quickly here,” LaFerla said. “I did three events already.”
The Democratic Central committees in the 12 counties that make up the 1st Congressional District voted to support him, LaFerla said.
The Maryland Democratic Party issued a statement late Monday afternoon endorsing LaFerla’s write-in candidacy.
“We understand the difficulties of a write-in camnpaign, but he has hit the ground running,” said Democratic Party spokesman Matthew Verghese, who described LaFerla as a strong candidate to face Harris.
Harris’ campaign officials have said they are focused on the issues and not the Democratic Party’s candidate.
“It’s extremely difficult because I wasn’t planning to do this and was in the middle of things in my life, but I’m excited to have a second opportunity to go against Andy Harris,” LaFerla said. “He’s bad for our district and he’s a tea party extremist.”
LaFerla already has brought his primary campaign manager, Erik Gulbrandsen, back on board and would have others rejoining soon, the candidate said.
He also planned to contact the organizations that had endorsed him in the primary election, such as the National Abortion Rights Action League, to see if they would support him in the general election.
LaFerla also plans to “sit down and have coffee” with former Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, who had held the seat from 1991 to 2009 before being ousted in the 2008 Republican primary by Harris. LaFerla said Gilchrest, who also had considered running, is endorsing his campaign.
Harris went on to defeat to Democratic candidate Frank Kratovil, but Harris beat Kratovil in the 2010 rematch.