Rep. Har­ris eas­ily holds onto U.S. House seat

Dorchester Star - - NEWS - By JA­COB OWENS & JACK RODGERS Staff Re­port

EAS­TON — Repub­li­can U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris will re­main the con­gres­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Mary­land’s First Dis­trict, af­ter re­ceiv­ing more than 60 per­cent of the vote Tues­day.

As of Tues­day’s fi­nal county — with ab­sen­tees and pro­vi­sional out­stand­ing, but un­able to change the races out­come — Har­ris gar­nered 176,595 votes, or 60.5 per­cent, while his Demo­cratic chal­lenger Jesse Colvin re­ceived 109,617 to­tal votes, or 37.6 per­cent. Jenica Martin, run­ning as a Lib­er­tar­ian, re­ceived 5,420 votes, or 1.9 per­cent.

In a Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon Face­book post, Har­ris thanked “ev­ery­one who voted in this elec­tion — whether you voted for me or some­one else.”

“My par­ents came to this coun­try for the free­doms and lib­er­ties that we share, in­clud­ing the abil­ity to have free and open elec­tions where we truly let the peo­ple de­cide,” he added. “It’s a great coun­try and I hope to be able to make it even bet­ter. Thank you for hav­ing faith in me and giv­ing me that chance once again.”

Har­ris, a Navy Med­i­cal Corps vet­eran and Johns Hop­kins anes­the­si­ol­o­gist, pre­vi­ously served in the State Se­nate and was elected to Congress in 2010, de­feat­ing then-Demo­cratic U.S. Rep. Frank Kra­tovil. Fol­low­ing the 2011 ap­proval of re­dis­trict­ing for Mary­land’s eight con­gres­sional dis­tricts, Har­ris’ seat be­came safer for Repub­li­cans as coun­ties with heavy Repub­li­can turnout were con­gealed into the First Dis­trict. Since then, Har­ris had faced lit­tle se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion from Democrats, never amass­ing less than 60 per­cent of the vote in the dis­trict.

In this elec­tion, he per­haps faced his most dif­fi­cult race yet though, as Colvin, a well-ed­u­cated U.S. Army Ranger vet­eran with four de­ploy­ments to Afghanistan, pulled to­gether a grass­roots cam­paign that criss-crossed

the dis­trict for weeks be­fore the elec­tion, painstak­ingly mak­ing stops in ev­ery ru­ral cor­ner to shake hands and meet lo­cals. His ef­forts were re­warded with a huge fundrais­ing stock­pile, amass­ing $1.7 mil­lion and be­com­ing the first can­di­date to out­raise Har­ris in a cy­cle since the in­cum­bent was elected, ac­cord­ing to data com­piled by the Cen­ter for Re­spon­sive Pol­i­tics, a non­par­ti­san non­profit fo­cused on cam­paign fi­nance.

To com­bat his en­er­getic op­po­nent, Har­ris made fre­quent ap­pear­ances through­out the dis­trict in the weeks lead­ing up to the elec­tion and tag-teamed events with lo­cal Repub­li­can cam­paigns. He also raised more than $1.5 mil­lion this cy­cle, the most since 2012, and spent about $1.18 mil­lion on the cam­paign, about 30 per­cent more than he spent two years ago. Some­what atyp­i­cal from the Democrats run­ning in the midterm elec­tion na­tion­wide, Colvin ran a cam­paign that openly ap­pealed to con­ser­va­tives as well as lib­er­als, re­leas­ing a TV ad that played to his Sec­ond Amend­ment sup­port and mil­i­tary back­ground, and promis­ing to united Repub­li­cans and Democrats by putting “coun­try over party,” among other ef­forts. In the dis­trict’s more lib­eral en­claves, Colvin em­pha­sized pro­tect­ing the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay and work­ing to re­form health care costs.

Colvin’s am­bi­tious cam­paign in a dis­trict largely con­sid­ered safe by poll­sters due to the high num­ber of prob­a­ble Repub­li­can vot­ers re­sult­ing from re­dis­trict­ing at­tracted a great deal of me­dia at­ten­tion, in­clud­ing some from na­tional news out­lets, but ul­ti­mately it couldn’t over­come the sta­tis­ti­cal odds.

Colvin only car­ried two of the 12 coun­ties in the First Dis­trict — Tal­bot and Kent coun­ties — and then only by slim mar­gins. The ma­jor­ity of the other 10 coun­ties sided with the in­cum­bent by wide mar­gins.

Colvin’s cam­paign thanked its vol­un­teers and sup­port­ers in a so­cial me­dia post­ing just be­fore polls closed in Mary­land on Tues­day.

“When the pun­dits shed doubt on our race, we called more folks to join the com­mu­nity around our cam­paign,” his cam­paign wrote. “When we out­raised and out­worked the in­cum­bent, we worked harder. Thanks to all of you, we started a move­ment of change across this Dis­trict. No mat­ter the re­sults tonight, we have so much to be proud of. We are pro­foundly grate­ful to you all.”

APG FILE/CAM­PAIGN PHO­TOS

In­cum­bent Repub­li­can U.S. Rep. Andy Har­ris, left, won re-elec­tion Tues­day in the First Con­gres­sional Dis­trict, de­feat­ing Demo­crat Jesse Colvin and Lib­er­tar­ian Jenica Martin, in Eas­ton.

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