Thanksgiving is over, Christmas shopping has begun, the hunters are out in full force and it's cold here on the Eastern Shore. So I guess this is as good a time as any to take a closer look at results of the recent election, particularly here on The Shore.
The Eastern Shore has, for the past twenty years or so, been a Republican stronghold. Wayne Gilchrest won nine elections in a row for the first district congressional seat and Republicans hold every state senate seat on the Shore. Democrats were understandably pleased when Gilchrest was defeated in the Republican primary by a much more conservative candidate, giving them a fighting chance to win the seat. They were ecstatic when Frank Kratovil won the seat for the Democrats.
With that win, there is only one Republican left in Maryland's congressional delegation, Democrats hold every statewide office and dominate the legislature. Republicans were devastated by the results and Democrats looked forward to a new day on the Eastern Shore. But is it really? It's well known that Democrat Frank Kratovil won every county on the Shore, but does that really tell the story? Let's take a closer look.
|County||Kratovil||Harris||Davis||% Kratovil||% Harris|
We can see that Kratovil did well in every jurisdiction and, with the possible exception of Cecil County, would certainly have won every county even if Libertarian Richard James Davis had not been in the race. Kratovil's margin was more than seven percent in every county on the Shore except for Cecil and reached thirty-three percent in Kent County - the home of Representative Gilchrest who crossed party lines and endorsed Frank Kratovil. Looking at these numbers one would be tempted to say that the Democrats are dominant on the Eastern Shore.
But, of course, this is just one race. Let's look at the Eastern Shore results of the Presidential race.
|County||Obama||McCain||Others||% Obama||% McCain|
These numbers tell a much different story. With the exception of Kent County where Obama/Biden edged out McCain/Palin by 48 votes, the Republican ticket dominated every county.
How can we explain this discrepancy? Well, for one thing, Frank Kratovil is a conservative Democrat and was able to convince voters that he would be a moderate in Congress, much like Wayne Gilchrest. Gilchrest, of course, was much beloved on the Shore and his loss in a bitter primary contest to Andy Harris certainly cost Harris some votes, as did Gilchrest's endorsement of Kratovil. And certainly the fact that Kratovil makes his home on the Eastern Shore won him some votes here.
But there's more to the story and I'll save that for my next post.