Meet the Maryland Conservative Who Aims to Take Over the House’s Largest GOP Caucus

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Meet the Maryland Conservative Who Aims to Take Over the House’s Largest GOP Caucus
The Daily Signal ^ | October 17, 2016 | Philip Wegmann

Posted on 10/19/2016, 3:41:18 PM by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Like most Americans, but unlike most of the other 434 members of the House of Representatives, Andy Harris pulls a lengthy commute to work each day.

One way and without traffic, the Maryland Republican says he can go door to door in an hour and a half from his home in Cockeysville to his office on Capitol Hill. But if he hits traffic, it takes almost three hours just to get to work.

Harris doesn’t mind. As a physician, he says he’s used to long hours in the operating room and, as a single father, the 60-mile trek is necessary for him to get home to his 16-year-old son. Plus it gives him time to think.

And while doubling back on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway daily in his Buick or Jeep, Harris says, he believes he diagnosed the predominant ill ailing the House GOP conference: conservative infighting. He also prescribed a solution: himself.

Harris, 59, is challenging Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., for the chairmanship of the largest conservative caucus in Congress, the Republican Study Committee.

Examining the 114th Congress in its waning days, the Maryland doctor argues that strained relations between the RSC and the smaller Freedom Caucus—the two predominant factions that together make up the majority of the Republican conference—did harm to the conservative movement.

“Lack of unity among conservatives has made it very difficult to be effective in steering leadership in the rightward direction,” Harris told The Daily Signal.

Harris, the only Republican in Maryland’s congressional delegation, notes that the two GOP caucuses often take similar policy positions but adopt different and sometimes counterproductive strategies. He points to policy fights over spending levels and a stopgap spending bill as examples.

(Excerpt)


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