- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
U.S. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer swept Maryland House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell in Tuesday’s election, winning majorities in each of the 5th Congressional District’s jurisdictions en route to his 17th congressional term.
It was a return to form for Hoyer in St. Mary’s County, where he won 53 percent of the vote. Two years ago, running against Charles Lollar, Hoyer took only 42 percent of the vote in his home county.
Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) received 69 percent of the overall vote and an overwhelming 85 percent show of support in Prince George’s County.
“I have been proud to represent the 5th District in Congress and am honored to have been re-elected by voters to continue serving our community,” Hoyer said in a statement late Tuesday night. “Throughout my career, I have worked on a bipartisan basis in the 5th District and in Washington to deliver results for my constituents protecting and preserving jobs, strengthening our local economy and making important investments in our future. I’m proud of this work and will continue to build on this record so we can put more Marylanders back to work, help businesses grow and expand, and strengthen the middle class.”
Nearly half of the 5th District’s voters live in Prince George’s, where Democrats outnumber Republicans 6 to 1.
Hoyer also easily won Charles County, where Democrats enjoy more than a 2-to-1 advantage over Republicans in voter registration, with 69 percent of the vote. O’Donnell claimed 28 percent of the vote in Charles.
The margins were much closer in Calvert and St. Mary’s counties but still bitter for O’Donnell (R-Calvert, St. Mary’s), who lost both of the jurisdictions he represents in the State House two years after they went in favor of then-Republican challenger Lollar.
“If you really look at the [election] numbers in 2006 and 2008, this puts us right back in the middle,” said Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-St. Mary’s), a senior adviser to Hoyer, of the results in Calvert and St. Mary’s. “Someone described it as a return to normalcy; 2010 really was an anomaly that had to do with national issues.”
Hoyer won Calvert with 49 percent of the vote, while O’Donnell claimed 48 percent.
In St. Mary’s, O’Donnell claimed 45 percent of the vote.
On Thursday, O’Donnell said he believes there will be more of a 50-50 split in Calvert once all the absentee and provisional votes have been tallied.
“We didn’t win this time,” he said, adding that that doesn’t necessarily mean he will run again because no decisions have been made but that people can take that how they want.
“We did just about everything we could with the means that we had. There’s nothing to be ashamed of in fighting the good fight,” O’Donnell said.
Frank McCabe, chairman of the Calvert County Republican Central Committee, said, “We’re clearly disappointed. I think with the limited money we could raise, I’m not sure we could have effectively changed anything.”
“I think we were [surprised] after the results of the last election” in 2010, said Mary Burke-Russell, chairwoman of the St. Mary’s Republican Central Committee. “We felt we had had a good edge with Tony.”
McCabe said that although he gives credit to the Democratic participants behind Hoyer for putting out “a very strong get-the-vote-out effort,” and for the money they were able to raise, “We give credit to Tony that he was able to get that close to Hoyer.”
In St. Mary’s, said Burke-Russell, “there is an irrepressible spirit ... we’re getting stronger all the time, every month. In 2014, we’re gonna work to make the change.”
Calvert County Democratic Central Committee Chairwoman Marie Duffield said Wednesday that she hadn’t had much time to look at the numbers yet, but she believes district residents are seeing what Hoyer has done in the area.
Duffield said Hoyer “represents our district very well. ... And I think that is being recognized.”
“I’m happy and glad because I know two years ago that wasn’t the case,” said Al Coleman, Charles County Democratic Central Committee chairman, of Hoyer’s victory in Calvert and St. Mary’s.
Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, said he believes, as a political observer in the 5th District, that Hoyer’s “much stronger presence the last two years” helped bring his numbers back up.
“Two years ago, people felt that he was never down here, that they didn’t see him,” Eberly said, adding that the 2010 election was a midterm election, when voter turnout is lower. Also during the 2010 election, he said, President Barak Obama was at his most unpopular, and that trickled down to the 5th District.
State Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton (D-Charles) said Thursday that he was surprised by the turnout for Hoyer in the district because of “the anger that was out there” against those in office and those in Washington, D.C. “And I think that speaks to the job Steny Hoyer has done.”
“It’s going to be even more important in the next election, in 2014, to build upon what we’ve done this year,” Coleman said of the Democratic central committees’ efforts throughout the district.
Libertarian Arvin Vohra and Green Party candidate Bob Auerbach finished a distant third and fourth, each claiming little more than 1 percent of the vote.