EASTON — Republican Congressman Andy Harris got more than twice as many votes as both of his opponents combined in the race for Maryland’s District 1 House of Representatives seat.
As of Wednesday, before absentee and provisional ballots were counted, Harris had 229,135 votes, or close to 68 percent. Harris’ Democratic challenger, Joe Werner, had 94,776, or 28 percent of the votes. His Libertarian challenger, Matt Beers, had a total of 14,207 of the votes, polling slightly more than 4 percent. There were 484 write-in votes.
District 1 Republicans vastly outnumbered Democrats at the polls Tuesday. More than 106,000 Republicans in the district voted Tuesday, while close to 53,000 Democrats cast ballots. Close to 1,800 people affiliated with other parties, like the Libertarian and Green parties, also went to the polls.
On the Mid-Shore, Harris had his best showing in Queen Anne’s County, where he gained about 17,350 votes to Werner’s nearly 6,200 votes and Beers’ 975. The closest contest was in Kent County, where there was a 1,557 vote difference between Harris and Werner. Harris came out on top in every county of the district.
Harris is entering his fourth term and will remain the only Republican Congressman from Maryland.
Republicans maintained majority in both chambers of the U.S. Congress, and a Republican president will soon take office, President-elect Donald Trump, who was projected to win the Electoral College vote Wednesday.
Harris is looking to secure a role as chairman of the Republican Study Committee, the largest Republican caucus in Congress. Should that happen, he said he would be well positioned to advance the policy issues that are of interest to him and important to District 1.
And with a Republican controlled Congress and a president “who will actually sign legislation that comes out of a Republican Congress,” Harris said, “We’re going to have to prove to the American people that we can actually solve the problems that they’re worried about.”
Congress goes back into session next week, and Harris said he will start by helping with an effort to delay any further consideration of the federal budget until January, when Trump is sworn into office.
“Why consider them now when we can consider them with a Republican president ... who will agree with the Republican majority?” Harris said.
As with recent years, although those were due to gridlock in Congress over budget issues, a continuing resolution will likely be passed that keeps the federal government funded at its current level, Harris said.
Harris also said he’s heard rumors of the Obama Administration pushing last-minute regulations through Congress “that would be harmful to the economy” before the president’s term ends. He will also work to block those, he said.
Overall on the District 1 election, Harris said the results show that the voters of the district have been paying attention to how he represents them, that “I stand up for the industries that are important” to the district.
Joe Werner could not be reached for comment.