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6 Md. House Members And Sen. Mikulski Re-elected | News

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6 Md. House Members And Sen. Mikulski Re-elected

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Democratic freshman Rep. Frank Kratovil faced a strong challenge Tuesday from Republican state Sen. Andy Harris in Maryland's most competitive congressional race.

The former Queen Anne's County prosecutor narrowly won the 1st Congressional District two years ago after the GOP had held it for 18 years. In Tuesday's rematch, Harris, a Baltimore County physician, sought to win back the seat for the Republicans.

With 6 percent of precincts reporting, Harris had 51 percent of the vote to Kratovil's 46 percent. Libertarian Richard Davis had 3 percent.

In other races, Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski easily defeated Republican Queen Anne's County Commissioner Eric Wargotz to win a fifth term. If she completes her six-year-term, Mikulski will tie former colleague Paul Sarbanes as Maryland's longest-serving U.S. senator.

With 6 percent of precincts reporting, Mikulski had 61 percent of the vote to Wargotz' 38 percent in a four-way race.

At least six Maryland House members also won re-election, including 5th District Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Among other House Democrats, C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger won a fifth term in the 2nd District; John Sarbanes won a third term in the 3rd; Donna Edwards won a second term in the 4th; Elijah Cummings won an eighth term in the 7th; and Chris Van Hollen won a fifth term in the 8th.

Republican Roscoe Bartlett won a 10th term in the 6th Congressional District.

In the 5th District, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer was seeking a 16th term against Republican businessman Charles Lollar.

In the 1st District race, Kratovil campaigned as an independent fiscal conservative who opposed his party's health care overhaul plan. He also touted his record of protecting the Chesapeake Bay.

Harris, one of the most conservative members of the Maryland General Assembly, pounded Kratovil over the weak economy and portrayed him as a puppet of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and President Barack Obama.

Both parties' national campaign committees poured money into the race, helping to push total expenditures to nearly $4 million.
First District resident Kellie Bowen, 31, a Republican retail sales associate voting in Abingdon, said she crossed party lines to cast her ballot for Kratovil based on his fiscal restraint.

"His voting record, particularly on recent spending initiatives, led me to support him," Bowen said. "I really appreciated his willingness to break from the party and the president."

Republican Marcy Martino, 44, a Stevensville nurse, also went for Kratovil, whom she knows personally.

"I feel strongly that I know his background," she said. "He has done a great job."

But Kratovil's Blue Dog status didn't sway Ray Ruiz, a 38-year-old recruiter from Abingdon who voted for Harris, primarily because of the economy.

"The rapid spending, the health care initiative, things like that are speeding up the destruction of an already broken country," Ruiz said.

Kylie Dietz, 19, a student from Grasonville voting in her first election Tuesday, cast her ballot for Harris. She said she saw Kratovil as an ally of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"He said he'd be independent and I don't think he has been. I wanted somebody who would be, so I voted for Harris," she said.