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Md.’s 8 U.S. reps aim to retain their seats

Maryland voters cast their ballots Tuesday in eight U.S. House races, all featuring incumbents hoping to keep their seats.

The marquee race was in western Maryland, with first-term Democratic Rep. John Delaney facing a spirited challenge by Republican former Secret Service agent Dan Bongino. Bongino, who lost a statewide bid for U.S. Senate in 2012, aimed to reclaim the 6th Congressional District for the GOP. The Republicans held the seat for 20 years before redistricting shifted the balance of registered voters toward the Democrats in 2012.

Independent voter Susan Marrama, 61, said she cast her vote for Bongino at a rural elementary school near Hagerstown, about 70 miles west of Baltimore.

“I just voted for a switch, that’s all,” said the retired schoolteacher and Reiki massage practitioner. “The housing market isn’t so good, the economy isn’t so great. I think that people are suffering. I just think that maybe we could do a little better.”

Registered Democrat Katherine Schwartz, 48, a substitute teacher in Washington County public schools, said she voted for Delaney, largely because she trusts Democrats to better represent middle- and lower-class Americans.

“I don’t trust the Republican party overall right now because it’s not a well-defined party any more, thanks to the tea partyers,” she said.

Both candidates spent the day greeting voters in Frederick, Washington and Montgomery counties. The district also includes Allegany and Garrett counties in far western Maryland.

Delaney, a former financier from Montgomery County, combined a moderate stance on fiscal issues with a liberal approach to social ones.

Bongino offered a conservative platform of lower taxes, a balanced budget, school-choice vouchers and opposition to the 2010 federal health care law. His campaign promise to never vote for higher taxes contrasted with Delaney’s call for compromise as the solution to congressional gridlock.

Maryland’s other House members include six Democrats and one Republican, Andy Harris, whose 1st District includes the Eastern Shore. Harris faced Democrat Bill Tilghman, a lawyer and Army veteran, in his bid for a third term.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, was seeking a seventh term in the Baltimore-area 2nd District. His Republican opponent, David Banach, is a recent Towson University graduate who served as a Marine in Iraq.

Rep. John Sarbanes was seeking a fifth term representing the 3rd District in central Maryland. His Republican opponent, Charles A. Long, is a retired Johns Hopkins University chemist.

Rep. Donna Edwards faced Republican businesswoman Nancy Hoyt in the 4th District in suburban Washington. Edwards was seeking a fourth term.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer faced Republican Chris Chaffee of Calvert County, in the 5th District, which includes southern Maryland. Chaffee advocated term limits and gun ownership rights, Hoyer, 75, has represented the district since 1981.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was seeking a 10th term representing the Baltimore-area 7th District. His Republican opponent, Corrogan Vaughn, is a businessman who ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate four times and president once.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen was seeking an eighth term representing the 8th District in suburban Washington. His Republican opponent was small businessman Dave Wallace.

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