Kratovil And Harris In Repeat Showdown Next Year

Representative Frank Kratovil Jr. and state Senator Andrew Harris have picked up their fundraising over the last three months, as they move toward an expected rematch next year in the 1st District. Harris raised $118,299 in the three-month period ending in July, bringing the Republican’s cash on hand to $210,349. Kratovil, the Democratic incumbent, raised $296,928 in the quarter, bringing his cash on hand to $503,819. While Kratovil holds a fundraising advantage, the candidate with the most money has not always won in the 1st District. Last year, Harris raised $1-million more than Kratovil and still lost. Kratovil won the 1st District seat by a mere 2,852 votes over Harris, who conceded on November 11 after days of recounts increased Kratovil’s election-night lead.

Harris filed a statement of candidacy with the FEC on November 28, 2008 for the 2010 election. Others also are interested in the race, which is expected to be the most closely contested in the state next year. This election cycle, the Republican National Campaign Committee has identified Harris as one of the party’s Young Guns, a group of candidates the committee is supporting in hopes of winning back seats in the House. Most of Harris’ funds have come in the form of individual gifts from lawyers and business owners in areas such as Annapolis, Gibson Island and Salisbury. Harris also got $2,500 from the American Society of Anesthesiologists, of which he is a member.

As a first-term Democrat seeking re-election, Kratovil of Stevensville has been named a Frontline Democrat by his party in an effort to boost his fundraising and to draw national attention to his campaign. The bulk of Kratovil’s funds are coming from organizations and donors outside the district. He has received sizable donations from PACs in San Francisco, New York and Chicago, with PAC donations totaling $376,835 this year. He also has received gifts from fellow Maryland congressmen, including Representatives Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore and Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville. While there is no formal campaign committee in place yet for Kratovil’s re-election bid, Lawlor said there are plenty of loyal holdovers from the previous election cycle who are helping to raise money. After unseating Gilchrest in the primary, Gilchrest went on to endorse Kratovil, which helped fracture the Republican vote in the district.

Two other Republicans have filed statements of candidacy with the FEC: Jefferson Ludwig Ghrist Jr., a Caroline County Commissioner, filed on July 21; and, Wicomico County resident Grady Romblad filed August 4. Libertarian Richard James Davis of Hurlock is the only hopeful who has filed his candidacy for the 1st District with the Maryland State Board of Elections. He has not filed with the FEC.