Cardin, O'Malley Win in Md. Races

By Joshua Partlow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 8, 2006; 1:18 AM

Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley (D) ousted Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) in a close race and U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D) defeated Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) in the race to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate.

O'Malley claimed victory shortly after midnight before cheering supporters in Baltimore. Cardin, at a separate celebration in the city, thanked his supporters shortly before 11 p.m.

Neither Steele nor Ehrlich immediately conceded defeat last night.

O'Malley, surrounded by his children, spoke to supporters at The Hippodrome in Baltimore. "God bless you Maryland," O'Malley said. "And for the working families of Maryland it is time to move Maryland forward again. Don't you think? We are going to make our government work again, right?"

O'Malley introduced his mother, Barbara, and paid tribute to his late father, Thomas. He said his father often told him, " 'Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose but always you try and that is what God demands of us.' Dad, tonight we tried and tonight we won."

Ehrlich did not concede defeat and told supporters at the Hyatt Regency in Baltimore "we just don't know, folks, we just don't know."

"We're going to overtime," he said. "We always win in overtimes, right?"

His supporters chanted "four more years" and Ehrlich responded: "Sounds good to me."

The congressman from the Baltimore area will fill the seat vacated by retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D). With more than 80 percent of the precincts reporting, Cardin had 53.1 percent of the vote and Steele had 45.4 percent.

Cardin appeared before his supporters at the American Visionary Arts Museum in Baltimore shortly before 11:00 p.m. claiming victory and thanking voters who "have given me the opportunity to be their United States senator." Cardin said he would fight for affordable health care, education, fiscal responsibility and make a new policy in Iraq "priority number one."

"I am so humbled to have won this election," Cardin said.

Moments before Cardin claimed the seat, Steele addressed supporters at a hotel in Bowie, saying: "I am not giving up this fight."

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