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Maryland Races

House Outlook for 2008

Will the GOP Swing the Pendulum Back?

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Maryland (01) (Open Seat)

Outlook: Toss-up


November 14, 2008 Update:

Democrat Frank M. Kratovil declared victory on November 11 after his opponent conceded. Kratovil edged Harris out 49 percent to 48 percent, and 2,154 votes.

November 7, 2008 Update:

The Democrat Frank Kratovil leads by 2,003 votes with 100% of precincts reporting. But since the absentee ballot process will be kept open till Nov. 14, results may not be known until next week or even a few weeks away.

September 16, 2008 Update:

In what was perhaps the worst kept secret in Maryland politics, Representative Wayne Gilchrest, defeated in the Republican primary, has named his preferred successor: Democrat Frank Kratovil, Neither the passing of time nor the pleading of national Republicans could overcome Gilchrest’s bad blood toward his primary opponent, state senator Andy Harris.

The endorsement keeps this race on the verge of competitiveness, at least for now. Although Democrats point to victories in the GOP territories of Louisiana and Mississippi to bolster Kratovil’s chances, all other factors point toward a Harris victory. Not only is the district painted in a deep red hue, but for Kratovil to win he must struggle against the twin headwinds of McCain coattails and an unpopular Democratic governorship. While an upset is not inconceivable, this seat is still likely to remain in GOP hands for years to come.


Background

Following state senator Andy Harris’s primary defeat of Republican Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, some of the Good Ole Party faithful is jumping ship. Already Gilchrest’s chief-of-staff and several other campaign and legislative aides have signed onto the campaign of Democrat Frank Kratovil. Gilchrest himself has conspicuously withheld an endorsement and insiders suggest he is closer to endorsing Kratovil than Harris.

Still, this is a Republican district at heart and in presidential years that counts double. The district went 57 percent for Bush in 2000 and 62 percent in 2004 and there is no indication that 2008 should be much different. Although Harris has been a much better fundraiser so far, the cash-on-hand totals are roughly equal between the two candidates as a result of Harris’ expensive primary battle with Gilchrest. Some Democrats are already comparing Maryland’s 1st district to Mississippi’s, noting a special election upset in a pro-Bush area, but Harris is no slouch and he certainly has a good shot at keeping the seat in the Republican column.

Candidates

Frank Kratovil – Democrat – state attorney
Website

Andy Harris – Republican – state senator
Website