Maryland Democrats plan to run a write-in candidate against Rep. Andy Harris (R), as Wendy Rosen — who quit the race Monday amid vote fraud allegations — will not be able to come off the November ballot.
Rosen announced that she was leaving the race after the state Democratic Party uncovered voting records showing she had cast ballots in both Maryland and Florida in 2006 and 2008. Rosen issued a statement expressing “great regret, and much sorrow,” but did not directly address the allegations.
Initially, Maryland Democrats said they would be able to pick a new candidate to replace Rosen on the ballot as long as they did so by Sept. 27, 40 days before Election Day. But while Maryland Election Law allows a ballot vacancy to be filled up to 40 days before the election, a candidate can only voluntarily withdraw up to 70 days before the election. That deadline was Aug. 28.
So while Rosen’s name will appear on the ballot in the Eastern Shore-based 1st district, Democrats plan to name a write-in candidate as their de facto nominee. The odds will be stacked against the party choice anyway, as the district was redrawn to be more hospitable to Republicans.
Rosen beat John LaFerla, a Chestertown doctor, by just .3 percent — 57 votes out of nearly 22,000 cast — in the April Democratic primary. The Cecil Times reported that LaFerla has told state Democrats he is willing to run in November, though it’s not clear whether he will be the party’s choice.
Republicans have seized the allegations as a way to criticize Democrats for being too lenient on vote fraud. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) issued a statement Monday evening saying: “The action taken today by the Maryland Democratic Party sends a clear message to Marylanders — we will not tolerate any violation of election laws.”