House rematch set on Eastern Shore

By Joseph Weber-The Washington Times

Democratic Rep. Frank Kratovil Jr. had barely been sworn in to his Maryland congressional seat in January 2009 before Republicans were plotting to retake it.

In an ominous year for Democrats politically, the 42-year-old former state’s attorney is still on shaky ground, but the Kratovil campaign says internal polls it has commissioned show he is making a race of it against GOP state Sen. Andy Harris in a rematch of their ultra-close 2008 contest.

Mr. Harris, who handily won the GOP primary Tuesday, can point to other polls done earlier this year putting him in the lead, but the dueling surveys suggest that the race will not be a walkover in what is considered to be Maryland’s only competitive House race.

Mr. Harris boasts strong conservative credentials and is running with the textbook GOP anti-incumbent message of less government and no tax increases. But some say his equally conservative views on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage are an uneasy fit in the mixed suburban-rural district long represented by moderate Republican Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, who endorsed Mr. Kratovil after losing the 2008 GOP primary.

Andy Harris lost two years ago because his out-of-touch agenda is wrong for the district. He should expect history to repeat itself this November,” said Shripal Shah, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the main House Democratic campaign arm.

Still, Republicans remain confident that Mr. Harris will win a rematch that forecasters now rate either as “leaning GOP” or a tossup.

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