COLLEGE PARK, Maryland — Voters across Maryland braved rainy weather and, in some cases, long lines to cast ballots that appeared to heavily favor incumbent Democrats to represent the state in the U.S. House.
Based on slow returns late Tuesday night, voters were poised to give their stamp of approval to all of the House incumbents – six Democrats and one Republican. Maryland’s only open-seat contest, in the 6th Congressional District, saw Democratic candidate David Trone easily defeat his opponent Republican Amie Hoeber.
The two candidates, along with Libertarian Kevin Caldwell and the Green Party’s George Gluck, fought for the seat that has been occupied by Democratic Rep. John Delaney since 2013. He is pursuing the presidency in 2020.
At his election night watch event at the Gaithersburg Marriott Washingtonian Center, Trone said the nation must unite after a bruising election season.
“If we pull together we can create a government that has compassion,” he said. “We can create a government that’s actually competent.”
In his campaign, Trone said Congress must stand firm against divisive and ugly rhetoric from President Donald Trump — a theme common among voters questioned at the polls Tuesday.
He emphasized a need to improve the Affordable Care Act, make community college free and increase funding for health research. Trone said his campaign was about listening to constituents. He vowed to set up offices across his district, which stretches from conservative Allegany, Garrett and Washington Counties to chunks of more liberal Frederick and Montgomery Counties.
“We don’t all see things exactly the same way, and that’s OK,” he said to the cheering crowd. “Because we’ve got to pull together.”
Turnout was high, and Maryland Board of Elections data showed that early voting turnout was higher than in a typical off-year election, more than doubling the number that early-voted in 2014 to more than 661,000.
Consultant Sue Houghton, who cast her ballot in downtown Frederick, said she hoped to be part of a wave of Democratic enthusiasm in this year’s balloting.
“I wanted to vote for somebody who would work a little bit more in the interest of all of the state, not just certain portions of the state,” she said.
In addition to congressional Democrats, Houghton said she voted for gubernatorial hopeful Ben Jealous and other Democrats.
“I do like where the Democrats have been taking the state. Very much so,” she said.
Some voters, like 44-year-old private caregiver Hillary Lewis, said President Trump was on her mind when she voted. She said she cast ballots for both Democrats and Republicans, but didn’t say which candidates.
“(Trump) likes to say that he wants us all to come together when he is scolded,” Lewis said. “But once the microphone is off him, he goes back to the hate and the exclusion.”
On the Eastern Shore, the state’s lone Republican representative, incumbent Andy Harris will get a ninth term in the House. He was opposed by Democratic challenger Jesse Colvin and Libertarian Jenica Martin.
Here are the results from the other races:
– In the 2nd Congressional District, eight-term incumbent Democratic Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger appeared to be turning back Republican Liz Matory, Libertarian Michael Carney and the Green Party’s Guy Mimoun.
– In the 3rd Congressional District, six-term incumbent Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes was prevailing over Republican Charles Anthony and Libertarian David Lashar.
– In the 4th Congressional District, incumbent Democratic Rep. Anthony Brown was elected for a second term over Republican challenger George McDermott and Libertarian Dave Bishop.
– In the 5th Congressional District, incumbent and House minority whip Rep. Steny Hoyer was elected to his 20th term in the House, defeating Republican William Devine, Libertarian Jacob Pulcher and the Green Party’s Patrick Elder.
– In the 7th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Elijah Cummings appeared to be headed to his 12th House term, beating Republican Richmond Davis and Libertarian David Griggs.
– In the 8th Congressional District, incumbent Rep. Jamie Raskin was elected to a second term over Republican opponent John Walsh and Libertarian Jasen Wunder.
(Capital News Service Washington Bureau reporters Morgan Caplan and Samantha Rosen contributed to this story.)