Showing resistance to anti-incumbent fever, Maryland voters re-elected seven incumbent members of Congress, and in the only race where no incumbent was running, elected a Republican to fill the seat vacated by a Republican.
With Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a state delegate from Timonium, winning the 2nd District seat that U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley held for 10 years, Maryland's congressional delegation remains the same -- four Democrats and four Republicans.
Voters throughout the state returned their incumbent members of Congress to office by large majorities -- six of the seven rolled up margins of 2-1 or better.
Perhaps the only surprises of the night were how badly Mr.
Ehrlich beat his opponent and how cozily Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett won re-election in the 6th District. Mr. Bartlett, once thought to be vulnerable, polled 66 percent of the votes to flick off the challenge of Paul Muldowney, a former state delegate.
In another race which most expected to be close, Mr. Ehrlich polled 63 percent of the vote to win over Del. Gerry L. Brewster of Towson.
The two men, both lawyers and state delegates, were classmates at Gilman School and Princeton University.
Both served on the House Judiciary Committee in Annapolis before running for Congress.
Mr. Ehrlich's lead was so great that Mr. Brewster conceded the race before 10 p.m. And for the first time in weeks, the two candidates said a few nice words about each other. Mr. Brewster called Mr. Ehrlich at home to offer congratulations.
"Bob Ehrlich is a good candidate," Mr. Brewster later said. And during his concession speech, with his father, former U.S. Sen. Daniel Brewster at his side, Gerry Brewster said of Mr. Ehrlich, "He's my congressman now."
"It just wasn't a good year to be a Democrat," Mr. Brewster added.Mr. Ehrlich appears to have beaten Mr. Brewster in areas where he was expected to win, such as Harford County and North Baltimore County, while connecting with voters in the heavily Democratic eastern end of Baltimore County. It probably didn't hurt that while he attended Gilman and Princeton, Mr. Ehrlich grew up in the working- class area of Arbutus, the son of a car salesman. His father, Robert L. Ehrlich Sr., stood with tears in his eyes last night.
"For all this to happen to my son is like a fairy tale," the elder Mr. Ehrlich said. "I mean we lived in a rowhouse in Arbutus, and to have a son end up like this."
Mr. Bartlett, a first-term congressman from Frederick, attributed his victory to general voter dissatisfaction with government.
"All across the country they're sending a message that government is too big, spends too much, taxes too much, and regulates too much."
He has held fast to his own beliefs in a smaller federal government, sometimes to the detriment of his district, such as when he opposed federal aid for snow removal in Western Maryland after the 1993 blizzard.
Mr. Muldowney, from Hagerstown, who was trying to rekindle his political career, said, "I think people across the board in the 6th District wanted a change, and they wanted Republican leadership. And they have spoken in a very strong way."
The 1st District featured a race between Republican incumbent Wayne T. Gilchrest, a moderate, and Ralph T. Gies, a Democrat so conservative that his own party refused to back him. Mr. Gilchrest had a 2-1 lead with more than half of the vote counted.
Mr. Gilchrest won easily, with 68 percent of the votes.
Mr. Gies, 69, an accountant from Anne Arundel County, won a surprise victory in the primary over Steven R. Eastaugh, the favorite. Mr. Gies, who supports prayer in school and is against abortion, said his conservative views are more in tune with the district than Mr. Gilchrest, a two-term congressman who lives on the Eastern Shore.
The 1st District includes all of the Eastern Shore, part of Anne Arundel County and a small part of Baltimore.
In the 3rd District, U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat from Baltimore, easily won another term in office over Republican challenger Robert Ryan Tousey.
He had 71 percent of the vote.
The district includes parts of Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Howard County.
In the 7th District, Rep. Kweisi Mfume, a four-term incumbent Democrat from Baltimore and head of the Congressional Black Caucus, easily held onto his seat over Republican Kenneth Konder, rolling up 81 percent of the votes.
The district includes a large chunk of Baltimore City and a slice of Baltimore County.
Incumbents won comfortably in the three districts in the Washington suburbs.
Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the Democratic incumbent of the 5th District, won another term in office over Donald Devine, a former personnel director in the Reagan administration.
He had 59 percent of the votes in the conservative district, including Southern Maryland and parts of Prince George's County.
In the 8th District, Rep. Constance A. Morella, a moderate Montgomery County Republican, beat back a challenge by Democrat Steven Van Grack, former mayor of Rockville.
Ms. Morella had 70 percent of the vote.
In the 4th District, most of which is in Prince George's County, Rep. Albert R. Wynn, a Democrat, topped Republican Michele Dyson, a Montgomery County businesswoman who lost to Mr. Wynn in 1992. Mr. Wynn's margin was 3-1.