Maryland voters have selected two new members of the state’s congressional delegation – electing former Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown in District 4, and State Senator Jamie Raskin in District 8. Both district seats were vacated when the incumbents Chris Van Hollen and Donna Edwards pursued the US Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Mikulski, with Van Hollen winning the primary and general election for that seat.
The remaining six members of the state delegation to the House of Representatives were re-elected. Senator Ben Cardin was not up for election this year.
Brown, 54, beat out a crowded Democratic primary field that included Peña-Melnyk and former Prince George’s state’s attorney Glenn F. Ivey, immediately becoming the overwhelming favorite to succeed Edwards in Congress. During the campaign, Brown shed his political handlers and invested $400,000 of his own money to tell voters a more personal story about his role as a father and husband.
“Sometimes in life you’re going to get knocked down,” Brown said after casting his ballot Tuesday morning. “And if you believe in what you are doing, you pick yourself up, your brush yourself off and you and you stay in the fight.”
Raskin, 53, a Takoma Park law professor, enjoyed the backing of virtually every major Democratic interest group in the state. He survived a nine-way primary that featured the heaviest self-funded congressional candidate ever, Potomac wine magnate David Trone. Trone spent $13.4 million of his own money to finish second, slightly ahead of former Marriott executive and news anchor Kathleen Matthews.
In both the primary and the general election campaigns, Raskin promised to pursue the kind of liberal agenda he set in Annapolis, including prison reform, a ban on assault weapons and an increased minimum wage.
“It is not my job to be in the political center; it is my job to be in the moral center,” Raskin told supporters Tuesday night. “When they call me a progressive, I say darn right, because at the heart of that word is progress, and if we aren’t making progress, what are we doing in politics?”
The Baltimore Sun covered the Van Hollen Senate win:
In a victory speech, Van Hollen laid out priorities, including improving education, building the economy and getting big money out of politics.
Marylanders need to unite “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,” he told supporters at an election night party in Silver Spring. “That’s what brings this extended family together as we move forward.”
Van Hollen, who served 12 years in the General Assembly before he was elected to the House of Representatives in 2002, will enter the Senate at a particularly precarious moment in U.S. politics, following a divisive presidential election that exposed deep rifts within both major political parties.