Maryland Election 2010: Pipkin vs. Harris (Winner To Face Kratovil)

Posted on November 29, 2009


The Baltimore Sun’s Maryland Politics blog reports that State Sen. E.J. Pipkin is likely to challenge State Sen. Andy Harris in the Republican primary for the District 1 congressional seat presently held by Congressman Frank Kratovil, a Democrat.

Harris, who lost to Kratovil in 2008, expected a clear shot at a rematch in 2010.  Republicans like to believe that Rep. Kratovil, serving his first term in Congress, might be vulnerable in 2010. (Mr. Kratovil’s wide lead over Mr. Harris in fund-raising might indicate otherwise.)  Along comes Sen. Pipkin, who hails from the Eastern Shore, to possibly upstage Sen. Harris.

Seems to me that Sen. Pipkin has wider name recognition than Sen. Harris, and might well be more popular among both Republican and Democratic voters. (Just my opinion.) As in 2008, the fact that Sen. Harris is from Baltimore County puts Harris at a disadvantage on the Eastern Shore. District 1 includes the entire Eastern Shore, plus parts of Harford, Baltimore, and Anne Arundel counties on the Western Shore. Both Rep. Kratovil and Sen. Pipkin are from Queen Anne’s County on the Eastern Shore. Oops, Sen. Pipkin now lives in Elkton, in Cecil County. (Thanks to Louise for the correction.)

Sen. Harris prevailed in the five-way 2008 Republican primary against Sen. Pipkin and then-Congressman Wayne Gilchrest, and two lesser-known Republicans. In a two-way repeat between Harris and Pipkin, whom would the Gilchrest voters support?

Making this even more interesting: if Sen. Pipkin and Sen. Harris tangle in the Republican primary for Congress, neither of them would be able to run for re-election to the State Senate in 2010. That would give strong Democratic candidates a good chance to claim one or both State Senate seats.

(All members of the Maryland General Assembly are up for election in 2010. Sen. Harris did not risk his State Senate seat when he lost to Rep. Kratovil in 2008, because the General Assembly was not up for election in 2008.)