He believes an influx of illegal immigrants has contributed to crime rates that are "out of control," pointing to gangs as an example. "Our hometown security is just as important as our homeland security," said White. "I think that people in the 3rd District are directly affected in health care and education costs and crime because of the dramatic increase in illegal immigrants."
White is calling for federal legislation to force states to require residents to show proof of citizenship when they get a driver's license. He would also encourage police officers to enforce immigration law and would secure the borders with the National Guard and other parts of the military.
Sarbanes instead supports the bill introduced by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Massachusetts Democrat Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Their proposal would crack down on employers hiring illegal immigrants and allow immigrants to apply for visas to put them on the path to citizenship.
He accuses White of pushing a panic button. "I think he's less interested than I am in some of these constructive approaches," Sarbanes said. "And frankly, I think he's more ready to press a button that's based on fear and anxiety in people ... and that can be reduced to sound bites that aren't particularly constructive."
Sarbanes' campaign has centered on health care - and the need for a universal solution - as well as ending the war in Iraq, education and the economy.
With regard to Iraq, he supports withdrawing American troops as quickly as possible. "I didn't say immediate withdrawal," he said. "I said as quickly as possible."
White agrees that the Bush administration's Iraq policy has failed but does not believe withdrawal should begin until Iraq is secure. "I do not support a `stay the course,'" he said. "I think we ought to have a set of defined goals."
McPeek, who is not raising money and has attended very few forums, says his main issue is overhauling the tax collection system by eliminating the income tax and moving to a pay-as-you-go flat sales tax.
White says that in a district in which both Ehrlich and President Bush won a majority, he has a "very good" shot of winning. "It's a very moderate district. It really is," White said.
For his part, Sarbanes says he's been sticking to the same message and detailed issue stances as during the primary.
"This was a kind of front-and-center opportunity," he said. "And I feel in a sense uniquely prepared to take advantage of it in a way where I can really make a difference."