By David Noss
CALLAWAY, Md. (Nov. 5, 2008)—In one of the most exciting presidential elections in years, Senator Barack Obama seized the office with 338 electoral votes to Republican Sen. John McCain's 156. In Charles County, Obama easily defeated McCain by 40,127 to 23,411. However, Obama did not fare as well in Calvert and St. Mary's counties. McCain earned 21,089 votes in Calvert to Obama's 18,382. In St. Mary's, McCain claimed 22,531 votes to Obama's 17,056.
The other contest of interest in the tri-county area was the seat for the 5th congressional district. It came as no surprise that long-time Democratic incumbent Steny Hoyer readily defeated Republican challenger Collins Bailey. Hoyer won by 44,215 to 17,005 in Charles, 24,065 to 14,015 in St. Mary's, and 23,160 to 14,320 in Calvert.
Many of the Democrats surveyed in local exit polls say they voted for Hoyer because he was a Democrat and they voted the party line. Several Republicans cited the same reason for voting for Bailey.
"He's a Democrat," said Crystal Boddie, 35, who voted for Hoyer at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Waldorf.
Many Republicans and Democrats who voted for Hoyer say they did so because he previously rendered aid to them or an organization with whom they're familiar.
"He has always been good to federal employees," said Carolyn Henegar, 73, a Republican who voted at Sunderland Elementary School.
"He's helped my family personally in a few situations. It was a child support situation," said Democrat David Chaney, 58, who voted at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School in Waldorf.
The two questions on the Maryland ballot each won by 2-1 margins in the tri-county area.
Question 1, allowing for early voting in the state, won 25, 370 to 12,773 in Calvert, 45,066 to 14,066 in Charles, and 25,293 to 12,807 in St. Mary's.
Question 2, which would authorize up to 15,000 slot machines throughout the state, won 24,536 in Calvert, 40,003 to 22,786 in Charles, and 24,515 to 14,449 in St. Mary's.
Several voters questioned say they supported the slots measure because they believed he revenue would be used for education.
"That was the vote for the kids, right? That's what it's all about," said Democrat Walter Simmons, 36, who voted at Dr. Samuel A. Mudd Elementary School in Waldorf.
"I am a teacher, and we need funding from any source we can. I have a child in public school, and the public schools in Maryland need more funding, especially in a lot of our counties," said Democrat Raychelle Mullins, 27, who voted at Benjamin Stoddert Middle School in Waldorf.
Reporters from the Capital New Service conducted the exit polls from which all of the above quotations are derived.