- The Washington Times - Monday, November 3, 2008

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Few races this year are as competitive as the one in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District - a classic liberal versus conservative matchup pitting Republican state Sen. Andy Harris against Queen Anne’s County State’s Attorney Frank Kratovil, the Democratic nominee.

Mr. Harris, a staunch conservative, was endorsed by the Club for Growth, the National Right to Life Committee, the National Rifle Association and the Club for Growth, (and in the primary, The Washington Times). He is tireless in fighting for limited government and lower taxes in Annapolis. Mr. Harris maintains a fulltime practice as a nationally recognized obstetric anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, where he also serves as an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical-care medicine. Andy Harris won election to the state Senate 10 years ago by defeating a moderate Republican incumbent in the primary. In February, he did the same thing to liberal Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, (who has endorsed Democrats including Mr. Kratovil and Barack Obama.)

In the House of Representatives, Mr. Harris would be an extraordinary asset to Republicans faced with difficult battles against the Democrats. That’s part of the reason why the number two House Democrat, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, has come to the district to campaign against Mr. Harris.

State Sen. Alex Mooney, Frederick and Carroll County Republican, says Mr. Harris enjoys the ability to work with members of both parties in Maryland’s General Assembly. “He never backs down from a fight,” says Mr. Mooney. During a debate over the state budget, Mr. Harris raised questions about the wording of an obscure provision that would have fueled increased government spending. When a senior Democratic senator challenged Mr. Harris’s reading, he soon realized Mr. Harris was right and telephoned Mr. Harris to apologize.

Because of his work as a doctor, both Democrats and Republicans in Annapolis look to Andy Harris for leadership and expertise on health-care issues.

In one debate, Mr. Harris (then a very junior member of the minority party) illustrated the respect he has earned from Democrats and Republicans alike. The powerful chairman of the Education and Health Committee was trying to pass legislation permitting nurses to speak to health maintenance organizations directly - bypassing doctors. Mr. Harris believed that removing doctors from the process could endanger patients’ health. “Andy got up and delivered a speech explaining what doctors know and nurses don’t,” Mr. Mooney told this page yesterday. “That failed by one vote. I know several senators changed votes because of him. When he speaks on health care, senators of both parties listen.”

Andy Harris, in short, is precisely the kind of conservative Republican who can be effective on Capitol Hill in a situation where Democrats are in the majority.

His opponent, Mr. Kratovil, depicts himself as a moderate. But in reality he is a liberal who would probably vote with Mrs. Pelosi. Mr. Kratovil favors negotiations with Iran. He also supports the Obama version of “Hillary Care,” and he opposes offshore drilling despite record-high prices for Marylanders. Mr. Kratovil also supported last month’s $700 billion mortgage-bailout bill.

Mr. Harris opposes single-payer health care and favors increased production of American oil and natural gas.

The Washington Times endorses Andy Harris for Congress in the 1st Congressional District.

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