- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 6, 2002

Democrat Christopher Van Hollen scored an upset over Rep. Constance A. Morella last night in Maryland's hotly contested 8th Congressional District.
The contest in Montgomery and a slice of Prince George's counties had been targeted by Democratic leaders as one of a handful needed to wrest the House from Republican control.
Shortly after 11 p.m., Mrs. Morella appeared before supporters, conceded defeat and pledged to cooperate with the district's new congressman. Moments later, Mr. Van Hollen spoke to his supporters.
"This was not a vote against Congresswoman Morella. This was a vote for change in direction and a change in leadership," he said.
With 100 percent of the district's precincts reporting, Mr. Van Hollen won 52 percent of the vote to Mrs. Morella's 48 percent.
At a victory party in Silver Spring, Mr. Van Hollen greeted his cheering supporters by thanking Mrs. Morella for her eight terms in Congress. "She has served the people of this community honorably and well, and I commend her," he said.
Mr. Van Hollen, 43, a state senator in Maryland for 12 years, has pushed legislation on issues such as mandatory gun locks and increased spending on education and health care. Last night, he said his goal for education is to "leave no child behind."
Most of his campaign for Congress was spent trumpeting the notion that a vote for Mrs. Morella, 71, would have helped keep the House in Republican control. But Even with Mrs. Morella's loss, the House appeared unlikely to leave Republican hands.
Still, the tactic worked for Mr. Van Hollen, with many longtime Morella voters like Elizabeth Purcell, an elementary school teacher in Bethesda, choosing to switch.
"It wasn't an easy decision," Mrs. Purcell said. "[Mrs. Morella] has been a wonderful representative, but unfortunately, I don't like the direction President Bush is taking us with war and I wanted to send a message."
Morella supporters, who gathered last night in Bethesda, braced for a disappointment.
"No matter how you work it, she's a winner," said Mary Ann Estey, who coordinated the congresswoman's campaign. "Win, lose or draw, she's a winner."
The race was one of the most expensive and hardest-fought in the nation. State Democrats redrew the already heavily Democratic district in Montgomery County and added some of neighboring Prince George's County so it would favor a Democratic challenger.
Mrs. Morella, a former college English professor and state legislator from Bethesda, is one of the most liberal Republicans in Congress. She has relied on the loyal bipartisan support she built in Montgomery County, which for more than 15 years she made "Connie Country."
She had a history of voting against her party when her constituents wanted her to on gun control, abortion and, most recently, against giving Mr. Bush authority to wage war against Iraq.
Mrs. Morella also had a reputation for a kind touch as a campaigner.
In eight prior election bids, she never mentioned her opponent's name in her ads. That changed this year, however, with one of her ads accusing Mr. Van Hollen of cutting income taxes for the wealthy.
The ad ended with: "To hear this guy talk, you'd think he was the Republican."
In other contests across Maryland, the 2nd Congressional District featured a tight race between Baltimore County Executive C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, Democrat, and Republican candidate Helen Delich Bentley.
With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Ruppersberger led with 52 percent of the vote to Mrs. Bentley's 48 percent. The total count at the time was 64,791 votes to 59,582 in favor of Mr. Ruppersberger.
Elsewhere in the state, Democrat William Donald Schaefer, a former governor, cruised to victory in the race for state comptroller over Republican challenger Gene Zarwell. Comptroller duties include collecting state taxes and sitting on the state's three-member Board of Public Works.
In the race for Maryland attorney general, Democratic incumbent J. Joseph Curran Jr. handily beat Republican challenger Edwin MacVaugh, gaining his fifth term as the state's highest legal authority. At 71, Mr. Curran is a seasoned politician whose public career began when he was elected to the House of Delegates in 1958.
Other races across the state for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives included:
1st District, where U.S. Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, Republican, gained a sixth term with a victory over Democratic challenger Ann D. Tamlyn.
3rd District, where U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, Democrat, handily defeated Republican challenger Scott Conwell.
4th District, where U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn, Democrat, gained a sixth term with a landslide victory over Republican challenger John B. Kimble.
5th District, where U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Democrat, gained an 11th term with a landslide victory over Republican challenger Joseph T. Crawford.
6th District, where U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, Republican, won a sixth term by defeating Democratic challenger Donald M. DeArmon.
7th District, where U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Democrat, comfortably won a fourth term by defeating Republican challenger Joseph E. Ward.
Maryland also voted on three proposed amendments to the state constitution. Early results indicated each of the amendments passed.
The amendments will loosen the control county attorneys have over county councils as well as restrictions on county councils in passing emergency legislation. A third amendment calls for the use of licensed and certified real estate appraisers in eminent-domain proceedings.

Catherine Matacic, Miesha Lowery, Patrick Badgely and Scott Galupo contributed to this report.

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