COLLEGE PARK, Maryland – Democrats took the state’s open U.S. Senate seat on Tuesday, as well as seven of eight House seats.
Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, of the 8th District, won 60 percent of the vote in his bid for the Senate, beating Republican Kathy Szeliga and Green Party candidate Margaret Flowers.
At his election night party in Silver Spring, Van Hollen thanked voters for “uniting behind the common purpose of trying to make sure every Marylander is treated with dignity and treated with respect and has an opportunity to have a fair shake in America.”
Van Hollen will replace Sen. Barbara Mikulski, who was first elected to the Senate in 1992.
“Senator Mikulski’s departure from public office, her retirement from the U.S. Senate is a great loss, not only to women, not only to Maryland, but to this country,” Congressional-elect Anthony Brown said. “She has been a fireball and blockbuster advocate on so many issues: women’s issues, veterans’ issues, seniors. She’s irreplaceable.”
Mikulski endorsed Van Hollen as her replacement.
“Chris Van Hollen was a strong player in the House, he will continue being a strong player in the Senate,” said Steven Cenname, a general assembly worker from Rockville who campaigned for Clinton in Ohio. “He’ll bring home the bacon for Maryland.”
With Van Hollen’s victory, his House seat went to Democrat Jamie Raskin, who clinched 59 percent of the vote. Raskin currently is a state senator and will resign that post.
“A lot of what I’ve done is cross the aisle,” Raskin told Capital News Service at the University of Maryland. “I hope to play the same kind of role in Washington, to bring Republicans and Democrats together.”
Democrats were hoping to claim the Senate majority from Republicans, who currently hold 54 seats compared to the Democrats’ 46.
“I’m a passionate Democrat,” Raskin said. “I would like the Democrats to take the majority back, (but) even more important than that is to end this system of gerrymandering so we have more fair election.”
All six incumbent representatives for Maryland kept, including Andy Harris, who remains the sole Republican representing Maryland in Congress.
Harris, first elected to the House in 2011, won 68 percent of the vote. The other winners were Reps. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium (2nd District), John Sarbanes, D-Towson (3rd District), Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville (5th District), John Delaney, D-Potomac, (6th District), and Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore (7th District), will keep his seat.
Mark Plaster, who challenged Sarbanes was not discouraged.
“The advantage of the US House of Representatives is both a curse and an advantage, and it is,” Plaster said. “It rolls over every two years, and folks, I’m coming back.”
Barbara Martin, 94, who voted a straight Democratic ticket, said, “I just thought I was voting for the best ones, (who will) try to do the best they can. They are experienced.”
Anthony Brown won the 4th District 4 seat with 74 percent of the vote and will replace Donna Edwards, who lost the Senate Democratic primary to Van Hollen.
Brown’s win in the House is a political comeback after his 2014 loss to Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
Without Mikulski and Edwards, Maryland does not have any female representation in Congress.
“People want to make sure a woman stays in the Maryland delegation, and I’m proud, obviously, to represent that,” Szeliga said prior to the election results.
All percentages referenced in this article were recorded as of 11:55 p.m. Tuesday, using data from the Associated Press.