Former Rep. Frank Kratovil will not challenge Republican Rep. Andrew P. Harris in next year’s congressional election, according to reports.
Mr. Kratovil, a Democrat who defeated Mr. Harris in 2008 but lost their 2010 rematch, told the Gazette on Thursday that he will not run in the 1st District, which covers the entire Eastern Shore and was redrawn this year to include more of conservative northern Maryland.
State Democrats acknowledged that the new map, approved last month by the General Assembly, would likely give Mr. Harris an even stronger edge in the traditionally conservative district, and increase his chances of holding onto the seat for years to come.
Mr. Kratovil, the only Democrat to represent the district since 1991, narrowly defeated Mr. Harris in 2008 — after the Republican defeated nine-term incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest in the GOP primary — but lost handily to Mr. Harris two years later.
Mr. Kratovil has fueled speculation this year that he would not try recapture the seat in 2012, taking a job as assistant deputy state’s attorney in Prince George’s County and applying last month for a judgeship in Queen Anne’s County.
No prominent Democrats have expressed public interest in challenging Mr. Harris. One whose name has been mentioned by observers — state Sen. James N. Mathias Jr. of Worcester County — said last month he does not plan to run.