This post has been updated
A Maryland Democratic candidate quit her congressional race Monday after her own party told state officials that she had committed fraud by voting in both Maryland and Florida in recent elections.
Wendy Rosen, a small-business owner running against freshman Rep. Andy Harris (R) in the Eastern Shore-based 1st Congressional District, released a statement saying that “with great regret, and much sorrow” she was resigning from the contest.
“Personal issues have made this the hardest decision that I have had to make,” Rosen said
Rosen’s announcement came the same day the state Democratic party released a letter to state Attorney General Douglas Gansler and state prosecutors reporting the allegations against Rosen.
“The Maryland Democratic Party has discovered that Ms. Rosen has been registered to vote in both Florida and Maryland since at least 2006; that she in fact voted in the 2006 general election both in Florida and Maryland; and that she voted in the presidential preference primaries held in both Florida and Maryland in 2008,” wrote Yvette Lewis, the state party chair. “This information is based on an examination of the voter files from both states. We believe that this is a clear violation of Maryland law and urge the appropriate office to conduct a full investigation.”
A senior Maryland Democrat said the party had been tipped off this weekend by someone within the party about Rosen’s potential issue. After checking the allegation, the party contacted Rosen on Monday morning and urged her to quit.
Local Democratic committees in the 1st district will now meet and vote on a new candidate to replace Rosen on the ballot. The new name must be submitted to the state by Sept. 27.
Regardless of his opponent, Harris is considered a safe bet for reelection. Though the 1st district was previously competitive — Democrat Frank Kratovil won the seat in 2008 before being ousted by Harris in 2010 — it was redrawn to be safer for Republicans after the 2010 Census.
Voter fraud has been a heated political issue, both in Maryland and across the country. Republicans have frequently accused Democrats of turning their backs on the practice, while Democrats say the GOP uses alleged fraud as a way to keep Democrats from the polls.
“If the Maryland Democrat Party is willing to push one of its own candidates out of the race due to voter fraud, I’m sure this means they will join us in an effort to purge the rolls across Maryland of illegal immigrants, the deceased, and those otherwise unqualified to vote,” said David Ferguson, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party. “It is a sad state of affairs that Democrat voters considered Wendy Rosen to be their model citizen for the First District and represent them on November’s ballot.”
As recently as Sunday, Rosen still believed her campaign was going full-speed ahead.
“My trip to Charlotte was incredible!” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I didn’t get a moment on the floor of the arena ... I spent all of my time hunting for campaign support! Everyone was so helpful from Jan Schakowsky and Ben Cardin to all of the women’s groups, environmental groups, jewish organizations. I feel re-energized for this last 8 weeks! Forward, not Backward!”