BERLIN – After one of the more contentious campaigns in recent memory, Democrat Frank Kratovil claimed victory in Maryland’s First Congressional District this week after Republican challenger Andrew Harris officially conceded on Tuesday.
In the months leading up to last Tuesday’s general election, Kratovil and Harris battled tooth and nail over the issues in a campaign that became particularly nasty and personal down the stretch. When the polls closed last Tuesday, Kratovil led by a mere 916 votes out of the nearly 350,000 votes cast in the district, which includes the entire Eastern Shore as well as significant parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Harford counties.
At the end of general election, Kratovil had garnered 49 percent, or 173,008 of the votes cast in the district, while Harris had collected 48.4 percent, or 170,854 of the votes cast in District 1. The result focused the attention on the roughly 30,000 absentee ballots cast in District 1, which state elections officials began counting last Friday.
In Worcester County and across the Eastern Shore, Kratovil’s support was even more pronounced. The Democrat easily carried each of the nine counties on the Eastern Shore including Worcester, while Harris drew overwhelming support in the pockets of the district on the western shore.
By Monday, Kratovil’s lead grew to a little over 2,100 votes, and despite the fact there were thousands left to be counted, it began to become apparent the Queen Anne’s County Democrat was starting to pull away from the Republican candidate from Baltimore County. On Tuesday, Harris called a press conference in Salisbury to concede the election to his opponent. Harris was in a decidedly conciliatory mood when he conceded to Kratovil on Tuesday.
“We vigorously debated many issues throughout this campaign, but now is the time for us to all come together as Americans united to solve the many problems facing this country,” he said during the press conference.
For his part, Kratovil reached out to all of his new constituents across the vast congressional district in a prepared statement that touched on a variety of issues.
“This race was not about Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, it was about protecting our bay, securing the middle class, and preserving the quality of life that folks in this part of Maryland come to cherish,” he said. “Now, with the race at its end, I am honored and humbled that the voters of the first district have entrusted me to become their next representative in Washington.”