- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 8, 2000

Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes coasted to victory as expected for his fifth term as senator from Maryland, beating Republican challenger Paul H. Rappaport by 22 percentage points, with 84 percent of all precincts reporting.
The victory for Mr. Sarbanes, 67, makes him one of the longest-serving public officials in the state's history.
Since winning his first seat in the U.S. Senate in 1976 with 54 percent of the vote, he has never garnered less than the 59 percent he drew in 1994.
Mr. Rappaport, 66, faced an uphill battle in name recognition and fund-raising, waging a mostly grass-roots campaign that never really came close in polls to one of the Senate's most consistently liberal members.
Polls throughout the Senate race showed Mr. Sarbanes leading by as much as 30 points.
A campaign worker for Mr. Rappaport told The Washington Times last night that the candidate would "probably not" concede the race until this morning, even though Mr. Sarbanes maintained a solid 20 point-plus lead as the votes added up through the night.
Earlier, Mr. Rappaport seemed resigned to the inevitable.
"I haven't conceded yet, but it doesn't look like it's going my way," he said.
"It's difficult to go against a 30-year incumbent with $2 million dollars in the bank and in a state that's two-to-one Democrat registration," Mr. Rappaport said. "You either sit back and take the big government, high taxes and onerous regulations, or you try and do something about it."
"We've given it a good try. The odds were against us from day one."
Mr. Sarbanes could not be reached for comment.
Mr. Rappaport, who beat out 7 other Republicans with 23 percent of the vote for the right to challenge Mr. Sarbanes, is a former Howard County police chief and is well-known among GOP loyalists.
He was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1994 and was the nominee for attorney general in 1998.
In the hotly contested Senate race in Virginia, George F. Allen beat incumbent Sen. Charles S. Robb with 94 percent of the votes counted.
With 60 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Allen had a 52 percent to 48 percent lead over the two-term incumbent.
The Maryland race, by contrast, never was considered "in play," or close enough for national political parties or special-interest groups to invest much money, TV advertising or personnel.
In April, one poll showed Mr. Rappaport gaining ground.
But with a fund-raising deficit and an opponent's name recognition to overcome, the race was an uphill battle for Mr. Rappaport.
During the race, Mr. Rappaport accused Mr. Sarbanes of failing to work for Maryland, exploiting the incumbent's reputation among his critics as "the stealth senator" or "do-nothing senator."
Mr. Sarbanes shot back, claiming several accomplishments: funding to preserve the Chesapeake Bay, protecting state beaches and keeping military bases open.
Mr. Rappaport also sought to make crime an issue in the race.
He wanted Maryland to follow the successful example of its neighboring commonwealth with the well-known "Project Exile" program, which has been credited with reducing crime in Virginia and its capital, Richmond.
Project Exile brings federal charges against convicted felons found with guns to ensure they will serve long sentences in distant prisons.
The proposal has broad bipartisan support among legislators in Annapolis.
Mr. Rappaport, a traditional Republican conservative, has never won a race for public office.
Mr. Sarbanes, a traditional Democratic liberal, has never lost.
The two men agree on very few issues, mostly taking the traditional positions of their respective parties on taxes, gun control, school vouchers and abortion.

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