Incumbent Rep. Steny Hoyer has been reelected for Maryland’s 5th Congressional District for a 21st term, although he came in behind his Republican challenger in his home county, St. Mary’s.
At 67%, Hoyer (D-Md. 5th) won the highest percentage of votes across his district, which includes Charles, St. Mary’s and Calvert counties as well as portions of southern Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, allowing him to fend off his Republican challenger Chris Palombi and once again keep his seat. Nearly 300,000 votes had been tallied as of Wednesday morning, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections.
In St. Mary’s, however, Palombi won more votes, about 60% total as of preliminary, unofficial results posted early Wednesday. In Calvert County, Palombi also topped Hoyer winning about 57% of votes, but the incumbent easily won over Charles County voters, garnering about 64% of their total votes, as well as majorities of district voters in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel.
Hoyer said he is “honored to once again receive the support of Marylanders in he Fifth District” in a release sent Tuesday night. “As we look toward the 117th Congress, I’ll continue to champion issues that matter greatly to my constituents. … As our nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ll work with my colleagues to enact legislation that delivers relief to families and small businesses struggling during this uncertain time.”
The congressman has represented the district since 1981, and touts his work on protecting access to affordable health care, expanding access to economic opportunity and ensuring local military bases and other federal facilities have resources they need.
Palombi said Wednesday morning “numbers are still coming in” with “60,000 ballots yet to be counted.” Even though Charles and Prince George’s proved high favorability for Hoyer’s campaign, Palombi mentioned he “gained a lot of ground” in St. Mary’s and Calvert and was able to secure a number of votes from unaffiliated voters, as well as some Democrats.
While this is his first time running for office, Palombi said he plans to run again. He mentioned he kept a document of “lessons learned” throughout this election process so he can “seek ways to improve.”
“It was a fun, great experience to learn and grow from,” he said, noting he really enjoyed getting to know citizens on the ground and hearing their stories.
Voting centers in Southern Maryland, especially in Calvert County, were busy for most of Election Day. During a Maryland State Board of Elections briefing Tuesday night, representatives said some vote centers in St. Mary’s and Calvert remained open past 8 p.m. to allow every resident in line to vote. At Patuxent High School, election staff had to employ additional resources to get more voters through and around 10:30 p.m. the school was the last vote center in the state to close.
“We have already seen impressive turnout in Maryland, and voters young and old have demonstrated great resiliency in their ability to navigate new voting processes amidst the pandemic,” Emily Scarr, Maryland Public Interest Research Group Foundation director, said in a release. “As we wait for results we should rest assured that our elections staff in Maryland and nationwide are doing the painstaking work of ensuring every vote is counted in a secure manner. This is democracy at work.”
Regarding mail-in ballots, state elections board staff claimed during the briefing it is too early to say how long it will take them to count all since they are not yet sure how many ballots there will be to count.
Wendy Adkins, director of the St. Mary’s County Board of Elections, told Southern Maryland News Wednesday morning Election Day “went very well” in the county. She mentioned as far as she knows, residents wore masks and followed social-distancing guidelines while waiting in line to cast their ballots.
The average wait time at the seven available polling places was “about an hour to an hour and a half at the heaviest,” the director said, with the Hollywood firehouse bringing in the most voters on Election Day.
Although she said the department is not overwhelmed with mail-in ballots, as of Wednesday afternoon there were 9,450 ballots in the county left to canvas.
“That number will go up but I do believe we have a majority of them in house,” Adkins said Wednesday. “We will canvass tomorrow and Friday. Then next week we will canvass again on Thursday and Friday to finish them up.”
A spokesperson for the Calvert elections board said Wednesday afternoon they have 8,085 ballots in house that still need to be counted. An additional 2,139 that have been issued have not been received yet but as long as they are postmarked on or before Nov. 3 and delivered by 10 a.m. on Nov. 13, they will be counted.
A representative from Charles elections board said Wednesday afternoon there are about 20,000 mail-in ballots still needing to be canvased, with more arriving daily.
One of the last voters in the entire state was Kevin Mayo of Prince Frederick, who works for Local 100 Sheet Metal in Prince George’s County. He entered Calvert High School around 9:50 p.m. and exited shortly after 10 p.m.Tuesday.
Before entering the school to vote, Mayo told Southern Maryland News that he was “leaning towards Trump.” When he emerged after casting his ballot, he confirmed that was his vote for president, but gave some context to his choice.
Mayo, who is a registered Democrat, “voted for Obama twice” but abstained from voting in 2016 because he felt that neither candidate “deserved his vote.”
He was mostly undecided for 2020, but after a last-minute discussion with his family opted to go to the polls to vote for Hoyer and to vote yes on the second ballot question. As to why he votes for members of either party, Mayo said “each party has good ideas,” and he hopes that they will find a way to be better about working together.