Montgomery County state Sen. Jamie Raskin will take over the 8th District congressional seat formerly held by Democrat Chris Van Hollen, who won his race to replace Barbara Mikulski in the U.S. Senate on Tuesday.
Raskin, a Democrat from Takoma Park, defeated Republican challenger Dan Cox, of Emmitsburg.
Raskin received 191,671 votes, according to results on the Maryland State Board of Elections website late Tuesday. Cox received 115,200 votes.
The 8th District covers portions of Montgomery and Carroll counties and large parts of Frederick County outside the city of Frederick.
Raskin joked that his first priority would be finding his office and hiring a staff.
But he said he wants to work to bring the country together after the election.
“This has been a tough campaign on the country,” Raskin said.
He said he’d like to focus on the nation’s infrastructure, including roads such as Interstate 270, Metro and other transportation systems, and water systems.
“We need to reinvest in America,” Raskin said.
Raskin won a crowded Democratic primary for Van Hollen’s congressional seat, beating businessman David Trone and former news anchor Kathleen Matthews, as well as David Anderson, Kumar Barve, Dan Bolling, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Will Jawando and Joel Rubin.
Raskin has represented Montgomery County’s liberal District 20 — home to Takoma Park and Silver Spring — in the Maryland Senate since 2007.
A constitutional law professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, Raskin is the state Senate’s majority whip.
He served as a Senate floor leader in the efforts to legalize same-sex marriage and to abolish the death penalty.
His wife is Sarah Bloom Raskin, a deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. They have a son and two daughters.
At the Frederick County Republican Central Committee’s election party at the FSK Holiday Inn Conference Centerl, handfuls of attendees stood and watched projections of presidential election coverage on a screen in front of the meeting room.
Cox sat at a table with his wife, who sported a campaign shirt, checking the Maryland Board of Elections site for updates on his race. Carroll County lagged with zero precincts reported on the site as The Associated Press called Raskin as a winner in the race.
“It looks like it’s Jamie Raskin’s night, so I congratulate him,” Cox said at the Republican Central Committee’s celebration party at the Holiday Inn. “And I’m excited to see and very honored to receive a strong vote in Frederick County.”
He received 37,116 votes in Frederick County, compared with Raskin’s 19,130 votes.
Former Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler said he’s known Raskin since Gansler was a child, and was ecstatic that Raskin won.
Raskin is “crazy smart,” Gansler said.
Gansler said he and Raskin took a long walk through Rock Creek Park after the primary election, and talked about how to represent a district that stretches from Takoma Park to the Pennsylvania border.
Raskin was clear that the solution was to talk to people and get to know the issues, Gansler said.
Conservative American principles embodied by the Ronald Reagan administration were central to Cox’s campaign.
Cox, the founder and sole practitioner of the Emmitsburg law firm Cox Law Center, wanted to call for a new Grace Commission. The commission was an investigation Reagan requested that focused on waste and inefficiency in the federal government. He also campaigned to impose a flat tax, in which all individuals pay the same rate regardless of income, and strengthen gun ownership rights.
He said in previous interviews with The Frederick News-Post that money cut from bloated government agencies could be used for military and defense programs and infrastructure improvements.
Cox won nearly half the vote for the 8th District Republican primary, beating Gaithersburg resident and pastor Jeffrey W. Jones; Silver Spring resident and business consultant Liz Matory; Silver Spring resident and attorney Shelly Skolnick; and Aryeh Shudofsky, a financial services and policy analyst and consultant from Silver Spring.
In the 8th District, 498,440 people are registered — 52 percent of them Democrat, 27 percent Republican and 21 percent third party or unaffiliated.
There were 44,312 absentee ballots, which the state will begin counting Thursday, requested in the 8th District as of Friday’s deadline. Democrats requested 27,550 ballots and Republicans requested 8,496. The remaining 8,266 absentee ballots were requested by third-party and unaffiliated voters.
Representatives are paid $174,000 a year and serve a two-year term. The 115th Congress is expected to convene Jan. 3, 2017.