Harden Requests Debates With Mizeur Before July 19 Primary

Dave Harden faces out with Heather Mizeur in Maryland's 1st Congressional District Democratic Primary

Dave Harden wrote a letter to Heather Mizeur requesting Mizeur’s participation in at least four debates before Maryland’s July 19 primary.

Harden and Mizeur are the two leading Democratic candidates competing to take on Rep. Andy Harris (R) in Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.

The two Democratic candidates are slated to participate in an April 20 candidate “forum” in Salisbury.

A candidate forum is not the same as a candidate debate.

Dave Harden wants to debate.

Heather Mizeur would rather participate in a candidate forum.

What’s the backstory on the April 20 Wicomico Democratic Club candidate forum? 

The Democratic Club of Wicomico County, in December 2021, sent Dave Harden’s campaign a request to participate in an April 20 District 1 “debate” with the other Democratic candidates.

The Harden campaign agreed to attend the Democratic Club’s April 20 debate.

Keyword: Debate.

Only recently did the Harden campaign learn from the Democratic Club’s organizers that Heather Mizeur refused to participate in a debate.

Moreover, Mizeur pushed the Democratic Club to limit candidate interactions with one another.

How did Wicomico’s Democratic Club respond to Heather Mizeur’s requests?

The Wicomico Democratic Club acquiesced to Heather Mizeur and begrudgingly changed from a debate format to a candidate forum.

What Heather Mizeur wants, Heather Mizeur gets.

An Impossibly Uphill Climb for Heather Mizeur 

Can Heather Mizeur beat Andy Harris in a general election?

No.

Mizeur’s politics are too far outside the mainstream for 1st District voters.

In fact, the Harris campaign team is ready in waiting to pounce on Mizeur’s progressive General Assembly voting record.

Mizeur lived in Takoma Park before moving to the Eastern Shore. She represented District 20 in the Maryland House of Delegates from 2007 to 2015.

The new congressional map that Gov. Larry Hogan signed into law in early April virtually eliminates any possibility of a Mizeur victory against Harris.

Heather Mizeur and Dave Harden are running for Congress in Maryland's 1st Congressional District

What about Dave Harden?

Can Harden win the 1st District’s general election?

Have you seen the new congressional map?

Maryland’s new congressional map is a gift to Andy Harris.

But Dave Harden isn’t a partisan like Mizeur.

Harden spent his career as a foreign civil service officer.

You won’t find Dave Harden virtue signaling or checking in with the Lower Shore Progressives for policy position papers.

Face it, Dave Harden is a political moderate. He’s a Democratic version of Larry Hogan.

Can you guess who won the Eastern Shore both in 2014 and 2018?

Larry Hogan.

Didn’t Mizeur run for governor in 2014?

She did.

But Democratic primary voters rejected Mizeur in every Eastern Shore county – except one.

Kent County – home to Washington College, a politically progressive private liberal arts school in Chestertown.

Why do Maryland Democrats Love Losing? 

The Maryland Democratic Party and its Democratic establishment insiders gripe over Andy Harris incessantly.

“He’s awful. He’s just so awful,” Democrats say.

Okay, Democrats have a point: Andy Harris is awful.

So why then are Maryland Democrats categorically lining up behind Heather Mizeur over Dave Harden?

Look, this is hard to write, and it’s probably hard for some of you to read.

Andy Harris will crush Heather Mizeur in a general election.  

Truth.

Dave Harden, a political moderate, has a small, fighting chance to oust Harris from Congress.

U.S Congressional candidate Dave Harden running in Maryland's 1st Congressional District

But the Maryland Democratic Establishment has decreed Heather Mizeur as their “chosen one.”

So, what, it’s Heather Mizeur’s “turn,” or something?

Is Mizeur “next in line?”

Is she entitled to the seat?

Heather Mizeur has no longstanding connections or ties to Maryland’s 1st Congressional District or its voters.

Hell, Mizeur spent eight years in the state House voting against the Eastern Shore’s political interests.

The situation begs the question once more.

Why are Maryland Democrats throwing money and resources at a candidate who has absolutely no chance of winning in November?

Because Maryland Democrats are content on losing political races with “their” candidates.

The moral victories Maryland Democrats so love winning are fun stories to share amongst friends.

Fast forward to 2023.

You’ll find the same Maryland Democrats who backed Mizeur’s candidacy sitting at a back table at Chestertown’s Blue Bird Tavern, plotting out their strategy to beat Andy Harris in ’24.

And the vicious cycle continues.

Dave Harden’s Letter to Heather Mizeur

Read Dave Harden’s letter to Heather Mizeur

Dear Ms. Mizeur: 

Please accept this letter as a request to participate in a series of at least four debates across Maryland’s First Congressional District between now and the start of early voting in July

Even in the steadiest of times, voters benefit from the chance to hear candidates for higher office speak in a direct and unfiltered manner about the most important issues of the day.

This need for debates is particularly true in a congressional district as large and geographically diffuse as ours, where opportunities for citizens to engage substantively with their potential representative are relatively limited. 

As you are well aware, these are not the steadiest of times.

National Security 

Vladimir Putin’s invasion and sustained campaign of genocide in Ukraine have served as a catalyst for a political realignment among traditional U.S. allies abroad and significant economic disruption here at home.

We both agree that Representative Harris’ dereliction of leadership in this crisis – including his inexcusable refusal to acknowledge the indispensability of NATO in times of international conflict – has only reinforced why he must be defeated in November and replaced with a member of Congress who will actually act to defend America’s national security interests. 

At the same time, our next representatives must provide meaningful solutions to challenges facing the children, families and small businesses of the First District.

Addressing the 1st District’s Economic Priorities

The soaring rate of inflation has made it difficult, if not impossible, for working people to fill their cars with gas and put food on the table, while still setting money aside for college and retirement.

This economy is particularly tough for low-to-moderate-income residents, as well as those – such as watermen,  farmers, restaurant owners, and contractors – whose livelihoods are directly impacted by the rising costs of motor fuel, beef, poultry, and other agricultural products. 

The financial insecurity felt by residents of our district is matched by a growing sense of concern for their personal safety. Even in a rural district such as ours, voters are increasingly concerned about the recent murders in the district and the rising rate of both violent and property-related crimes.

Safe Neighborhoods 

Our next member of Congress must stand ready to work with our state and local governments to provide the personnel, technology, and equipment our police officers need to make our neighborhoods safe. 

Quality of Life 

Finally, our next member of Congress will be called upon to act and lead on issues that will determine the quality of life for our children and grandchildren.

Carbon Emissions and Alternative Energy

We must curb the rate of carbon emissions, achieve independence from imported oil, and support the development of alternative sources of energy.

An Affordable Healthcare System 

We must provide all Americans with a health care system that balances affordability, accessibility, and quality while addressing the unacceptable absence of viable mental health care treatment for people in desperate need of help.

Supporting Local Schools 

We must also support local school systems throughout the First District with the resources to attract and retain the best teachers, build schools that create a suitable learning environment for our children, and keep teachers, students, and staff members safe from violence. 

Harden’s Debate Proposal

Given the breadth and magnitude of these issues and the grotesque inadequacies of our incumbent congressman, I believe it is imperative that we provide the voters with our respective credentials and priorities as well as areas of agreement and differences.

Now that the judicial process for determining the boundaries of our district has concluded, now is the time to organize these debates.  

I propose that our respective campaign managers and staff begin to work through such details, including formats, subjects, and possible moderators.

Given that we have a candidate forum in Salisbury on April 20th and are now less than three months away from the start of early voting, time is of the essence. 

I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Sincerely, 

R. David Harden

Ryan Miner Administrator
Ryan Miner is Editor & Founder of A Miner Detail, a Maryland Politics Blog.