Leading his 1st District Congressional opponent by fewer than 1,000 votes when the polls closed on Election Day, Democrat Frank Kratovil more than doubled his lead over Republican challenger Andy Harris in the subsequent days as the provisional, absentee and overseas ballots were counted.
At about noon today, once it became clear he would not be able to make up the widening gap, Harris conceded to 1st District race to Kratovil.
Here is Harris’ full concession speech:
“First, before we begin, I want to thank all of our veterans on this Veterans Day. Without their sacrifices throughout our history, we would not be here to talk about our peaceful, free, and democratic elections in America. Remember our fighting men and women still in uniform in your prayers tonight.
The last 17 months have been an incredible journey. This journey would not have been possible without the loving support of my wife, Cookie, and our five children. This journey would also not have been anywhere nearly as exciting or successful without the support of my dedicated campaign staff and the hundreds of volunteers from all over the First Congressional District who worked so hard on this effort.
During this campaign, I have also had the privilege of meeting thousands of amazing, hard-working people throughout the district who just want to earn a piece of the American Dream. And I am truly humbled by the tremendous support I received from the voters on Election Day.
Earlier today, I called Frank Kratovil to congratulate him personally on his victory in this long and hard fought campaign – and to wish him and his family well. We vigorously debated many issues throughout this campaign, but now it is time for us all to come together as Americans united to solve the many serious problems facing this country. President-Elect Obama and all those who serve in Washington DC will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Obviously, the election results did not turn out the way I would have liked. But we all must celebrate our election process, and never take it for granted. Decades ago, my parents fled Communism and came to the United States with the hope of a better, freer life for themselves and their children. But I don’t think they ever dared to imagine that this great country of ours would even give one of their children the opportunity to run for Congress. Their experience – the American experience – instilled in me a great respect for all our freedoms, and our democratic election process – even when the result of the election doesn’t quite turn out as we would have hoped.
For now, I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Maryland as a State Senator. As I have for the past ten years, I will continue to support all our families by fighting for lower taxes and less wasteful government spending in Annapolis – an especially important task in these difficult economic times.
Thank you again for all of your support. God Bless all of you, and God Bless this great country we call America.”
Even though their candidate lost, the Harford County Republican Central Committee issued a letter thanking the Board of Elections for administering a fair election and standing up to “tremendous pressure from outside attorneys” – a jab at the Democratic National Committee, which sent lawyers to Forest Hill from Washington D.C. to scrutinize the absentee and provisional ballots coming into the heavily-Republican, pro-Harris county.
I would like to commend the Harford County Board of Elections on its fair administration of this year’s election. In the face of tremendous pressure from outside attorneys to throw out absentee ballots, the Board conducted itself with the utmost professionalism and made sure that Harford County votes mattered. I would particularly like to commend Election Director Jim Massey and his entire staff, as well as Board Counsel Carolyn Evans for their conduct throughout this process. I know that the staff at the Board of Elections has put in tremendous numbers of hours over the past few months and the voters of Harford County should be proud of these public servants.
Harford County clearly showed once again that it supports the Republican Party and its candidates. Obviously, many fellow citizens of the United States and other parts of Maryland disagreed with the majority of Harford voters. I congratulate President-Elect Obama and the members of Congress who were elected. I also congratulate Frank Kratovil on his likely election to Congress. However, there are still ballots to be counted in the First District race, including military ballots. It is my belief that every vote counts and that we owe it to our troops to count their votes.
I want to thank everyone in Harford County who voted for our candidates, but I particularly need to thank the team that made the McCain-campaign in Harford County a possibility.
Harford County Young Republican President Brian Young did a tremendous job of acting as my right hand in Harford County for this campaign. Teresa Reilly also played a crucial role in the campaign. I also need to recognize Councilman Chad Shrodes, Bob Holley, and Sylvia Delong for getting our signs out. Greg Selzer, Steve Wright, Lee Merrell, Paul Magness, Dave Price, Sue Melefsky, and Bob Thomas are just a few who worked tirelessly on this campaign. There are hundreds of others who also volunteered their time, made calls, knocked on doors, or put up signs and we are extremely grateful to each of them.
The Republican Club of Harford County, Harford County Republican Women, Route 40 Republican Club, Harford County Young Republicans, and the Harford County Republican Central Committee each made tremendous donations of resources to the campaign and are an integral party of the Harford County Republican Party.
Rest assured that the Republican Party in Harford County is alive and well and will continue to work for responsible government.
Michael A. Geppi
Harford County Republican Party
Andy Harris’ full concession is now available in the story above.
It’s a pretty good speech. Who would’ve thought 8 months ago that Harris would be the one conceding the race – and on Veterans Day?