Maryland's eight House incumbents swept to easy victories yesterday.
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), who won the 8th District seat two years ago by ousting longtime incumbent Constance A. Morella in a tight race, had no trouble winning a second term. He defeated Republican challenger Charles R. Floyd, a retired military officer and former Bush administration official.
The district includes most of Montgomery County and a section of western Prince George's County.
It was much the same across Maryland: Challengers trying to capture House seats were resoundingly rebuffed by voters in a state in which redistricting has solidified Democratic strongholds in six of the eight congressional districts.
Democrats Steny H. Hoyer, Albert R. Wynn, Benjamin L. Cardin, Elijah E. Cummings and C.W. Dutch Ruppersberger easily won reelection. The same was true for the two Republican incumbents, Wayne T. Gilchrest and Roscoe G. Bartlett.
In the 8th District, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by about 2 to 1, Van Hollen, 45, was backed by a coalition of labor, environmental and gun-control organizations. During the campaign, he said he had been able to have an impact even as a freshman in a Republican-controlled House.
He recently gained attention for pushing an amendment prohibiting the use of federal funds for a $10 billion buyout for tobacco farmers. A congressional conference committee agreed to make tobacco companies pay instead.
Floyd, who moved to the district 18 months ago, spent more than $200,000 of his own money on the race. He tried to portray Van Hollen as too liberal and partisan.
In the 4th District, which includes much of Prince George's and the eastern side of Montgomery, Wynn, 53, cruised to victory. Wynn, a six-term representative, is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
His opponents were Republican John McKinnis and the Green Party's Teresa Mitchell Dudley. During the campaign, they criticized Wynn for his support of casinos at the proposed National Harbor development near Oxon Hill.
McKinnis, 29, is a Silver Spring resident who owns an information technology company. Dudley, 41, is a fourth-grade teacher and Landover community activist who unsuccessfully ran three times for Prince George's County Council as a Democrat.
In the 5th District, which includes part of Prince George's and all of Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties, Hoyer (D) won his 12th full term. He is the second-ranking House Democrat behind Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.
Hoyer, a formidable fundraiser, collected about 10 times what his Republican challenger, Brad Jewitt, raised.
Hoyer, 65, has gained high marks from supporters for his success in funneling federal dollars to the district, particularly the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the Indian Head Naval Surface Warfare Center in Southern Maryland. Hoyer said he has secured more than $350 million in military construction projects since 1994.
Jewitt, 34, former mayor of Berwyn Heights in Prince George's County, said his opponent was more liberal than the constituents he represents, citing Hoyer's opposition to a ban on what some call partial birth abortion and to constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage and flag burning.
In the 7th District, which because of redistricting now includes most of Howard County, a part of Baltimore County around Catonsville and a large part of Baltimore, Cummings easily brushed back a challenge from Republican Tony Salazar.
Cummings, 53, of Baltimore is a former speaker pro tem of the Maryland state House of Delegates, and is now chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Salazar, 45, is an Ellicott City Republican and a bank senior vice president. Also in the race was Green Party candidate Virginia T. Rodino, 29, an assistant professor of communications at Bowie State University.
In the 3rd District, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D), the former Maryland House of Delegates speaker, turned away Robert P. Duckworth (R), clerk of Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, and Patsy Allen of the Green Party, to win his 10th term.
Cardin, 61, who has been reelected easily in his congressional campaigns, is known as an expert on Social Security and is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
In the 1st District, Gilchrest won an eighth term. He was challenged by Kostas Alexakis, a Democrat and newcomer to the district.
Gilchrest, 58, a former teacher who many Democrats acknowledged has made the environment a top priority, was endorsed by groups such as the League of Conservation Voters.
In the 6th District, Bartlett brushed off a challenge from Democrat Kenneth T. Bosley, a Baltimore County farmer and former biology teacher. Also running was Green Party candidate Gregory J. Hemingway of Lutherville, an accountant. The district runs from the Susquehanna River to Maryland's western border.
Bartlett, 78, is a member of the Armed Services, Science and Small Business committees. Bosley, 71, ran twice for Congress in the 2nd District before his home in Sparks was shifted to the 6th District by redistricting.
In the 2nd District, which includes a large part of Baltimore County, Ruppersberger, 58, trounced Jane Brooks, 53, of Dundalk, who was an aide to Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. when the Maryland governor was in the U.S. House.
Ruppersberger is a member of the House Armed Services, Government Reform and Intelligence committees. He served two terms as Baltimore County executive. Also running was Green Party candidate Keith Salkowski, 46, a Towson filmmaker.