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Incumbent Morella defeated in Maryland

State Sen. Christopher Van Hollen defeated an incumbent GOP Rep. Connie Morella in Maryland's 8th District.
State Sen. Christopher Van Hollen defeated an incumbent GOP Rep. Connie Morella in Maryland's 8th District.

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SILVER SPRING, Maryland (CNN) -- CNN projects that Democratic state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen has defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Connie Morella in one of the nation's most hotly contested House races.

Democrats targeted Morella, a liberal Republican, for defeat last year when Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening and Democrats in the state Legislature redrew the 8th District.

Legislators moved thousands of new Democrats into her district, including minorities from Takoma Park and Silver Spring. Al Gore, who took 60 percent in the old 8th District, would have received 65 percent in the new district.

Morella performed well in her first serious challenge since she first won office in 1986. D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams, a black Democrat, attended a Morella fund-raiser this spring, and she has called on old friends in abortion-rights and gun-control circles.

Van Hollen scored an upset victory in the September 10 primary over state Del. Mark Shriver, who had more money than Van Hollen and ties to a famous Democratic family (the Kennedys). Van Hollen also moved quickly to unite his party, drawing endorsements from Shriver and third-place finisher Ira Shapiro within days of the primary.



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