In the 5th Congressional District, which includes all of Southern Maryland and parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, 10-term Democratic Rep. Steny H. Hoyer faces Republican Joseph T. Crawford.

The incumbent is dean of Maryland's congressional delegation and sits on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. He co-chairs the House Democratic Steering Committee, which decides committee assignments, and is the ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee. He was a prime backer of national election reform legislation, which passed Congress this month.

Hoyer, who has announced interest in making a third run for the House Democratic leadership if the party takes control of the chamber, has campaigned extensively for and spread money to Democrats across the country.

The incumbent's support for local military installations, the environment and federal workers -- subjects that touch on a large part of Southern Maryland's population -- has helped him win five elections since the 5th District was redrawn to encompass Southern Maryland.

Crawford, a conservative Republican activist who dropped out of the running for his party's nomination in 2000, is campaigning on the theme that Hoyer is too liberal for the district.

A member of the Charles County Republican Central Committee and the party's slate of presidential electors in 2000, Crawford is a Waldorf computer and business consultant who has campaigned unsuccessfully for clerk of the county Circuit Court and the state House of Delegates.

Crawford has worked with groups across the party's social conservative base, including the Christian Coalition, Charles County Right to Life and Concerned Families of Southern Maryland.

Crawford says he supports President Bush's war on terrorism and gun rights. He opposes abortion and nontraditional families.

Hoyer had $513,199 on hand as of Sept. 30. Crawford did not raise the threshold $5,000 required to file a federal campaign finance report.