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An award-winning journalist has decided to go for the congressional seat of a Democratic congressman known as Nancy Pelosi’s “right-hand man.”

Veteran journalist Ken Timmerman is running as a Republican in Maryland’s newly redrawn District 8 outside Washington, D.C., betting that voters will see the benefits of electing an experienced investigator to Congress.

In November, Timmerman hopes to benefit from Democratic Party redistricting that redrew the lines in order to defeat Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett in neighboring District 6.

First elected to the House of Representatives in 1992, Bartlett, a member of the Tea Party Caucus, is the second-oldest serving member of the House.

As a result of the redistricting, about 100,000 Democrat voters from District 8 have been lopped off and thrown into District 6, replaced by mostly Republican voters in Maryland’s rural Carroll and Frederick Counties.

Timmerman believes the redistricting has opened the opportunity for a conservative to run against lifetime Democrat politician Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who has held the District 8 seat for 10 years. Van Hollen spent more than a decade in Maryland’s House of Delegates.

Van Hollen is a formidable opponent, regarded in Congress as a top Democratic Party loyalist after Pelosi created a new leadership position for him in 2006, assistant to the speaker.

“America is headed on the road to ruin – bankruptcy, despondency and dependency,” Timmerman argues, “and Chris Van Hollen has been in the driver’s seat along with Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.”

With the rapidly growing threat to Israel posed by Iran, Timmerman believes his long-term reporting on the mullah-led regime will give him an issue edge in the campaign.

“This is not a time to wait and see,” said Timmerman. “I know the Iranian regime very well, and they are dangerous. When they threaten openly to start a new wave of terrorism, as they are now doing against Jews worldwide, we have to be ready to stop them.”

In 1995, Timmerman founded the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, an activist organization dedicated to working with Iranians who want to bring freedom to their nation.

In 2006, he published the bestselling book “Countdown to Crisis: The Coming nuclear Showdown with Iran.”

Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and a panel of 13 top national security officials announced their endorsement of Timmerman earlier this month.

“District 8 needs a strong voice in the U.S. Congress to help us get our fiscal house back in order so our government can go back to its basic responsibilities of defending the nation,” Bolton and his colleagues said. “We have known Ken Timmerman over the years as a courageous advocate of the truth and defender of our freedoms.”

The Citizens United Political Victory Fund, the affiliated PAC of Citizens United, also has endorsed Timmerman.

His challengers in the GOP primary are businessman and GOP activist Dave Wallace, IT consultant and Montgomery County Council nominee George Gluck, attorney Shelly Skolnick and management consultant Gus Alzona.

Timmerman has attacked Van Hollen relentlessly, accusing him of promoting an appeasement policy toward Iran that has brought the United States to the brink of “a war we do not need and can actually prevent.”

“My opponent in this race has been the biggest friend of the pro-Tehran lobby in Washington,” Timmerman charged. “He has opposed sanctions, and undermined funding for the pro-freedom movement in Iran.”

Timmerman also has launched a strong appeal to the Jewish community in Montgomery County and elsewhere in Maryland, warning that they are at a special risk because of the threats by Iran’s leaders and other extremists to attack Jews wherever they live.

“We have seen Israeli diplomats and their families targeted by Iranian-backed terrorists around the world,” he noted. “We urgently need to beef up protection of Jewish educational centers and synagogues.”

In 2006, Timmerman was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize along with Bolton for his work in exposing Iran’s nuclear weapons program and his tireless advocacy of persecuted Christians in Muslim lands.

For the past seven years, he has been the lead investigator for families of 9/11 victims in a civil lawsuit against Iran.

Based on evidence developed by Timmerman, a federal district judge ruled last year that Iran “shared responsibility” for the 9/11 terrorist attacks with al-Qaida and had provided “direct, material support” for the attacks.

Ken, his wife Christina and their five children are long-time residents of Kensington, Md.

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