It was a bittersweet day in Salisbury today; the weather was nice for this outdoor event but the results of Election 2008 finally sank in as Republican State Senator Andy Harris conceded the votes weren’t there to win the First Congressional District seat over Democrat Frank Kratovil.
Standing in front of the old courthouse, Harris read from a page of prepared remarks before taking questions from the press gathered for the appearance.
In his remarks, Harris gave thanks to the veterans who served and spoke about this “journey” he had traveled over the last year and a half. He also thanked his family, his volunteers, and the “amazing, hardworking” people of his district who sought a “piece of the American dream.” Andy also brought up the fact that his parents were immigrants to America and perhaps never dreamed their son could have the opportunity to run for Congress, yet he had.
After noting he had spoken to opponent Frank Kratovil earlier that morning, he wished Frank well in Congress and said it was time to “come together as Americans united.” Meanwhile, Andy needed to go back to work in the Maryland General Assembly to lower taxes and cut spending in Annapolis.
In front of about two dozen supporters who took time from their lunch hour to attend, Andy answered a few quick questions after giving his concession speech. In not winning, Andy simply stated that Americans had “delivered a message for a different direction”, and while he didn’t agree with it he respected the decision. While the question about whether the campaign was too negative came up, Andy saw it more as a “vigorous debate” and when asked what he’d do differently kiddingly remarked the obvious, “win the election.”
After he sidestepped a commitment to run again in 2010, the final question that was asked was whether not being from the Eastern Shore hurt Harris in the race, to which he responded it “may have been a hurdle.”
Here is where I take off the reporter hat and begin the editorial.
Unless the Eastern Shore begins growing rapidly, we’re always going to share a Congressman with another part of the state. While the two sides of the Shore are different, there’s nothing that ever said we were “entitled” to have a Congressman from our side of the bay – prior to Wayne Gilchrest, then-Congressman Roy Dyson lived in southern Maryland. Neither Frank Kratovil nor Andy Harris grew up on the Eastern Shore, and while Kratovil hails from Maryland, the D.C. suburbs are a far cry from the lifestyle we have here.
It will be interesting to see just how often Frank comes around to our part of the state now that he’s won. One knock against Wayne Gilchrest was that he didn’t seem to be around all that often, and odds are Frank Kratovil has that EZ-Pass all set up to zip back and forth across that Bay Bridge he lives in the shadow of. The question is just how often the car will roll any farther down Route 50.
I’d rather have a Congressman who lives on the other side of the bridge and represents a good conservative viewpoint than one who happens to live on my side but won’t often vote that way.