- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 6, 2008

ANNAPOLIS | Democrat Frank M. Kratovil Jr. and Republican Andrew P. Harris will have to wait at least one more week to find out who won the race for Maryland’s 1st Congressional District.

Mr. Kratovil led Mr. Harris by 916 votes at the close of the polls Tuesday night, but state elections officials say it will take until Nov. 14 to count all of the absentee ballots.

“We’re getting everyone lined up, and we’re moving forward,” said Mr. Harris’ campaign manager, Chris Meekins.

Both campaigns are planning to send lawyers to each of the county boards of elections Thursday morning to oversee the counting of 25,000 absentee ballots.

“Yesterday, [bipartisan support] carried me to a clear lead in this election at the polling places, even as [Republican presidential nominee] John McCain carried our district by a significant margin,” Mr. Kratovil, the Queen Anne’s state’s attorney, said in a statement Wednesday. “It is my hope that we will see this trend carry over to the absentee-ballot totals as well.”

If Mr. Kratovil holds on to his slim lead, he would become the first Democrat to win the district since 1988, when state Sen. Roy P. Dyson last won the seat.

He would also add to the Democrats’ gains in House races in Tuesday’s election, which saw the party increase its hold on both chambers of Congress.

Much like the February primary, in which Mr. Harris unseated longtime incumbent Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, the general election became a battle between the state’s Western Shore and Eastern Shore.

Mr. Kratovil carried every Eastern Shore county, while Mr. Harris, a state senator, dominated in the state’s small, yet densely populated Western Shore precincts, according to preliminary election results.

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