Jim Mathias Widens Lead over Michael James in District 38 Absentee Ballot Count

Posted on November 5, 2010

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JIM MATHIAS

Del. Jim Mathias, the hard-working former mayor of Ocean City, appears to be one of the few Eastern Shore Democrats whose boat was not swamped by the Republican high tide that flooded across the U.S. on Election Day.

Mathias led Republican Michael James by a paper-thin margin at the close of voting on Tuesday. In the counting of absentee ballots, the Mathias lead has widened slightly. Mathias is now ahead by a full percentage point, 50.5 percent to 49.5 percent for James, with more absentee ballots, as well as provisional ballots, to be counted next week.

If the Mathias lead holds, it would be a significant victory for the Maryland Democratic Party, which stands to gain a seat in the State Senate. Republicans added only four seats to their minority in the House of Delegates.

Democrats will continue to hold overwhelming majorities in both houses of the Maryland legislature. But in Maryland, where the Democratic Party is the proverbial “Big Tent,” Democrats are fully capable of providing their own loyal opposition in the legislature. Republicans are functionally irrelevant, except on the Eastern Shore and the Western Maryland counties.

GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY

The nationwide Republican surge was turned back by Democrats in most of Maryland — Gov. Martin O’Malley trounced his Republican opponent, former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, and Sen. Barbara Mikulski was re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

On Eastern Shore, however, voters shunned qualified Democratic candidates and flocked to Tea Party Republicans with simplistic slogans. Swept away in the tide was one-term Democratic Congressman Frank Kratovil, defeated by State Sen. Andy Harris, an arch-conservative interloper from Baltimore County, on the other side of the Chesapeake Bay.

SEN. BARBARA MIKULSKI

As of Friday, Mathias has 22,916 votes, for a lead of 439 over James, who has 22,477 votes, according to the