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Md. General Assembly races yield few surprises

With all the upsets on the national level, Maryland’s General Assembly races offered little in the way of surprises and upsets.

Republicans repeatedly labeled Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch a top target, but the longtime legislative leader held on to his seat in Annapolis. His district will, however, be more Republican in 2011, with former Del. Herb McMillan leading Del. Virginia Clagett, a Democrat, and Del. Ron George holding on to his seat.

The Eastern Shore district of Del. Norm Conway, the chairman of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, saw a similar shift. Conway held his seat but appears to be headed to the State House sharing the district with a Republican.

And in Western Maryland, Democratic Del. Kevin Kelly is in a tight race with Republican Mary Beth Pirolozzi.

At least two incumbent senators appear to have close contests on their hands. Sen. Alex Mooney, who represents pieces of Frederick and Washington counties, trailed in early returns. And Democrat Roy P. Dyson, of Southern Maryland, was leading, but locked in a tight race with Stephen M. Waugh.

Democrats appear to have a chance to pad their majority on the Eastern Shore, where Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus is retiring. Del. Jim Mathias, a Democrat from the same district as Conway, was leading Republican Michael James at midnight in the contest to replace Stoltzfus.

At the top of the tickets, the returns in the governor’s race have tightened from their early, hefty margins. Gov. Martin O’Malley, who gave his victory speech about 90 minutes ago, leads former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. 55 percent to 44.