- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 28, 2016

ANNAPOLIS — Delegate Patrick L. McDonough, a staunchly conservative Republican, will announce Friday that he will try to unseat Democratic Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger in November, saying he hopes to be part of a conservative revolution in this deep-blue state.

Mr. McDonough, who has represented Harford and Baltimore counties in the House of Delegates for 17 years, said that he’s grown tired of what he derisively calls the “Maryland General Asylum” and that he’s ready to try to make an impact at the national level.

A fan of GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s immigration policy, Mr. McDonough said he wants to use that and foreign policy as attacks on Mr. Ruppersberger, a six-term congressman who has easily won re-election.

“[Mr. Ruppersberger] has supported President Obama’s extremist and unlawful policies that promote amnesty and weak enforcement,” he said. “Obama Dutch is truly Amnesty Dutch.”

But analysts said those stances aren’t likely to sway voters in the 2nd Congressional District, which runs from the south of Baltimore up to the tip of the Chesapeake Bay.

Todd Eberly, a political commentator and associate professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said Mr. McDonough has “no chance.”

“The district is drawn in such a way as to favor Democrats,” Mr. Eberly said. “It is not the most liberal Democratic district, it’s more moderate, but there’s nothing to suggest that someone who is more to the right than most Republicans can win there in a presidential election year.”

He said Mr. McDonough is unlikely to shape the discussion in the district since Mr. Ruppersberger “will probably ignore him, because he can.”

PoliticalMaryland commentator Barry Rascovar said Mr. McDonough lacks enough name recognition in the district to pose a challenge to Mr. Ruppersberger, who won his 2014 race with 61 percent of the vote.

“Pat McDonough is extremely popular in his Harford County-Baltimore County district, which is overwhelmingly Republican and hard-core conservative,” Mr. Rascovar said. “The congressional district, though, is heavily Democratic. McDonough is not well known in the rest of the congressional district. Dutch is extremely popular, and his name is almost universally known in the congressional district.”

Mr. McDonough believes he can use the growing threat of terrorism as an issue against Mr. Ruppersberger, who served as ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee from 2011 to 2015 as the Islamic State was building strength.

Mr. McDonough said his opposition to illegal immigration is what voters in the congressional district are looking for, calling Maryland a “Disneyland for illegal immigrants.”

He has likened his stance on immigration to those of Republican presidential front-runner Mr. Trump — but that is likely to hurt him, Mr. Rascovar said.

“McDonough loves publicity and has obtained it by making outrageous and extreme statements on barring immigrants, violence in Baltimore city and just about any imaginable subject,” Mr. Rascovar said. “He’ll be branded, rightly, as xenophobic, nativist and racist. He’s counting on a Republican tide of ‘Trumpean’ proportions sweeping the country. That’s not likely to happen in Maryland in November.”

Jaime Lennon, a spokeswoman for Mr. Ruppersberger, said the congressman has a “clear record” and would be proud to run on it.

“Congressman Ruppersberger has always respected anyone willing to throw their hat in the ring, so it is a shame that Pat McDonough has decided to go negative already,” Ms. Lennon said. “As always, Congressman Ruppersberger will run on his record of always putting our country and his constituents first and working across the aisle to keep the government functional for families.”

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