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Md. First Congressional District Race Heats Up

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Bill Tilghman
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Voters in Maryland’s first district have the power to create an all-blue Congressional delegation. Right now, Andy Harris is the state’s only Republican on Capitol Hill.

As political reporter Pat Warren reports, he’s facing a Democrat who is playing to win.

Republican Andy Harris speaks the minds of his constituents.

“Lemme read from letters and communications my office is getting from around my district,” he said.

One of those constituents wants to unseat him.

“As your Congressman, I’ll support any good idea that makes America a better place, no matter where it comes from,” said a Bill Tilghman ad.

“The feedback has been very positive from that,” Tilghman said.

Tilghman is a newcomer to politics but his family is one of the oldest on the Eastern Shore.

Harris, the two-term incumbent, is a former state senator from Baltimore County.

“I’m actually glad we’re going to have a debate about the very important issues that face the nation in this district,” Harris said.

And what a district it is. District one encompasses parts of Carroll, Baltimore, Harford and Cecil counties and all of the eastern shore, a population of about 700,000.

“We’ve had town halls continuously; we do them both in person and over the telephones and we’re listening constantly. If anything, I think people are more frustrated with the policies that are coming out of the administration, that’s whether it’s healthcare, foreign policy, immigration,” Harris said. “It’s just one after another.”

With that frustration and 44% of district voters registered as Republicans, it seems likely Harris will retain his seat—but Tilghman sees a shift.

“44-40 and 16% independent. Sixteen percent of the people have self-identified as independents and that number has spiked in the last several years and that’s the number that tells us that something is different this time around,” he said.

A Democrat won the seat in 2008 but served just one term.

That was Frank Kratovil, who beat Harris in 2008 and then lost to him in the next election.

The deadline to register for the general election is October 14.

All of the Democrat Congressional incumbents won their primary elections. The general election is Nov. 4.

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