Staving off three challengers from Harford, U.S. Representative Roy P. Dyson won the Democratic primary in the 1st Congressional District, where he faces a general election rematch with Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest.
Gilchrest, who lost narrowly to Dyson in 1988, was the top vote-getter among eight GOP hopefuls in the district. The district spans from eastern Harford to the Eastern Shore and includes some of Southern Maryland.
Although Dyson's main challenger, Harford Delegate Barbara O. Kreamer, District 34, won more votes in Harford than Dyson, she did not muster enough support across the district to win.
In Harford, Kreamer got 4,473 votes, or 53.2 percent of the total.
Dyson had 2,436 Harford votes, or 28.9 percent of the total.
Across the district, Dyson trounced Kreamer, taking 36,389 votes, or 54 percent of the total. Kreamer got 21,266 votes or 32 percent of the total.
Kreamer won four of the 13 counties in the district.
Two Harford lawyers split the remainder of the ballots cast in the Democratic primary. Morris C. Durham of Aberdeen won 5,664, or 8 percent of the total. Michael C. Hickey of Abingdon got 3,892 votes, or 6 percent of the total.
Despite the defeat, Kreamer said her campaign put a spotlight on Dyson's ties to military contractors and position on abortion rights.
Kreamer said she called Dyson to congratulate him Wednesday and would be talking with him further about possible support for his race against Gilchrest.
In the last weeks of the campaign Dyson came under attack after he revealed he received conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War.
GOP candidate Gilchrest, who is a Marine veteran of Vietnam and Purple Heart recipient, said he will not make Dyson's draft status an issue in the campaign. But, Gilchrest said, he will emphasize his diverse background as a veteran, laborer and history teacher and compare himself to Dyson.
"We're going to stick to the same things we talked about before" in the 1988 race, Gilchrest said.
Those issues include reducing the federal budget deficit, supporting education and protecting the environment. "Our whole focus is to get this information out to as many people as we can," he said.
In 1988, Dyson beat Gilchrest 96,128 to 94,588 -- a margin of 1,540 votes. Gilchrest said he will build upon that base to beat Dyson in the November 6 general election.
On Tuesday Gilchrest came in second place among Harford GOP voters, behind Charles Grace of Joppa. Grace took 721 votes, or 25.15 percent of the total in the county. Gilchrest trailed with 551 votes, or 19.99 percent of the total.
Gilchrest said he and Dyson differ on a number of issues, including abortion rights.
Dyson has said women should have a right to an abortion only in the event of incest, rape or a health threat to the mother. Gilchrest said, "I think the woman should make that decision. I would vote pro-choice."
Gilchrest said he favors linking defense spending to realistic strategy, not to political expediency and campaign contributions. He said Dyson -- whose military stance he termed "hawkish" -- has voted for items unwanted by the military but wanted by military contractors who contributed to his campaign.
Dyson could not be reached for comment.