Incumbents Lock Up Md.
By Brianna Bond
Wednesday, Nov. 8,
WASHINGTON - Maryland's seven congressional incumbents sailed to
victory Tuesday with all winning at least 50 percent of the
vote, and Democrat John Sarbanes took the state's only open
seat, according to unofficial results from the State Board of
The results, which maintained the six-to-two balance between
Democrats and Republicans in the state's congressional
delegation, enhanced the state's clout nationally as the
Democratic Party commanded control of the House and will at
least share power with Republicans in the Senate.
"I think that a lot of things happened last night, but clearly
the message from around the country was one for change," said
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, who beat Republican
challenger Jeff Stein in the 8th Congressional District race
with 77 percent of the vote.
In the 5th Congressional District, Rep. Steny Hoyer,
D-Mechanicsville, easily won re-election with 83 percent of the
vote against Green Party candidate Steve Warner. The minority
whip will start his 14th term vying for the majority leader
position in a newly Democratic-controlled House.
Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, one of two Republican
representatives, won re-election with 58 percent of the vote,
the smallest margin of all the incumbent races. His opponent,
Andrew Duck, garnered national attention as an Iraq military
intelligence officer and outspoken critic of the war. Duck waged
a comparatively strong campaign, seizing 39 percent of the vote,
but came up short in his attempt to unseat the seven-term
"Congressman Bartlett had a very comfortable win in a very
tough year," said Bartlett's spokeswoman, Lisa Wright, who said
the congressman had expressed concern about an overall "drag on
In the 4th Congressional District, Rep. Albert R. Wynn,
D-Largo, toppled Republican Moshe Starkman with relative ease,
winning 81 percent of the vote, after barely eking out a victory
in the primary over challenger Donna Edwards, who came within
3,000 votes of unseating the seven-term incumbent.
Sarbanes, a political newcomer and son of retiring Sen. Paul
S. Sarbanes, won the 3rd Congressional District seat vacated by
Rep. Ben Cardin with 65 percent of the vote, beating Republican
The elder Cardin, who's never lost an election, beat Lt. Gov.
Michael Steele in the Senate race.
Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville, beat Democratic
challenger Jim Corwin in the 1st Congressional District with 68
"The clear sentiment of the country was 'We want a change of
direction', and so, to a large extent, each individual race was
nationalized," Gilchrest said, who condemned Bush's negative
rhetoric against the Democrats.
Dissatisfaction with the Iraq war and the Bush administration
gave Corwin a strong wave of support, but he struggled to get
his message out to voters across the Eastern Shore and in Anne
Arundel, Harford and Baltimore counties thanks to a marked
"The only way to do this is to concentrate much earlier on
raising money . . . and I did not do that," Corwin said.
Other campaigns failed to provide strong opposition to
Democratic incumbents, particularly in the 2nd Congressional
District, where Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Cockeysville,
drubbed Republican challenger, Jimmy Mathis, with 70 percent.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, ran unopposed in the 7th
"The state took a big, giant, step backwards last night in
terms of a two-party system," said Zach P. Messitte, political
science professor at St. Mary's College of Maryland.
"The fact that the Republican Party only holds two out of
eight congressional seats is very indicative of the election
yesterday," said Audra Miller, spokeswoman for the Maryland
Republican Party, who said the group focused more on statewide
Though GOP candidates across the state suffered big blows,
she said, at this point there's not much that can be done. "The
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