Maryland Delegate Pat L. McDonough, a Baltimore County Republican who helped lead a successful petition drive against the state's Dream Act, announced Thursday he will run for Congress or Senate next year.
Mr. McDonough said he will challenge either Democratic Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin or Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and will choose his race depending on results of the state's upcoming congressional redistricting.
The General Assembly will meet in October to consider a new map to be proposed by Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat.
The four-term delegate said he'd prefer to run against Mr. Ruppersberger, but will turn his hopes to the Senate if the Democrat-controlled Assembly tilts the district further into the incumbent's favor. Mr. Ruppersberger, District 2, won a fifth-consecutive term last year, garnering 64 percent of votes while Republican challenger Marcelo Cardarelli received just 33 percent.
Mr. Cardin was elected to the Senate in 2006, receiving 54 percent of votes in a 10-percentage-point victory over Republican candidate Michael S. Steele.
Mr. McDonough acknowledged that a Senate or congressional campaign will be an "uphill battle" in the mostly Democratic state, but said he has been encouraged by feedback within District 2 and throughout the state.
"We've done a lot of polling and all the results have been pretty good," he said. "But if they alter the lines to any degree, it could become an impossible climb, and I'm not interested in impossible."
Mr. McDonough, who has served in the state House since 2003 and previously from 1979 to 1983, is regarded as one of the state's most conservative legislators.
He has crusaded annually against the state's budget voting against it the last seven years due to what he considers excessive taxing and spending. Mr. McDonough also has been a vocal proponent for making English the state's official language and in 2007 opposed an Assembly-approved resolution that apologized for slavery, arguing the measure was "superficial."
He served as honorary chairman this year of the petition drive against Maryland's Dream Act, which would allow in-state tuition for many college-aged illegal immigrants. He has mostly handled legal matters on the campaign, which gathered more than 109,000 signatures nearly double the amount needed to send the law to a November 2012 referendum.
He would be the second Republican to declare candidacy against Mr. Cardin, joining Daniel Bongino, a former Secret Service agent.
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