Kratovil appears ready to claim victory in the 1st

Democrat's lead grows, but Harris isn't conceding with 8,000 ballots outstanding

Election 2008

November 11, 2008|By Matthew Hay Brown | Matthew Hay Brown,matthew.brown@baltsun.com

Democrat Frank M. Kratovil Jr. appeared ready to declare victory in the 1st Congressional District after the bulk of the provisional ballots from last week's election were counted yesterday.

With about 8,000 absentee and provisional ballots outstanding, Kratovil leads Harris by 2,154 votes, or 0.6 percent of the 352,813 counted in the state's most competitive congressional race this year.

Kratovil, 40, the state's attorney for Queen Anne's County, announced a news conference for this afternoon.

"Every day, more votes come in and our lead becomes a little more comfortable," Kratovil spokesman Kevin Lawlor said. "That's what we expected would happen."

The Associated Press called the contest for Kratovil on Friday. Harris wasn't ready yesterday to concede defeat.

"There's still numerous ballots left outstanding," Harris campaign manager Chris Meekins said. "There are a lot of votes left to be counted, including many military and absentee. Andy's going to look at the remaining votes that are left and then he'll be making a decision."

A Kratovil victory would give Democrats their seventh out of the state's eight House seats. Republican Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest has represented the district, which includes the Eastern Shore with portions of Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Harford counties, since 1991.

The conservative Harris defeated Gilchrest, a moderate, in the party primary this year.

The district's boards of elections are scheduled to count all remaining absentee and provisional ballots on Friday. The state Board of Canvassers is scheduled to certify the results Nov. 24. State law gives defeated candidates three days after certification to demand a recount.

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