ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland won a second term Tuesday, defeating Republican Chris Chaffee in the heavily Democratic state.
In a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1, Van Hollen's seat was considered a safe one for Democrats.
Van Hollen, 63, was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving seven terms in the U.S. House.
Voters who supported Van Hollen described him as a reliable Democrat with a long history in Maryland. Mary Magnotti said she voted for Van Hollen as well as all the other Democrats she could.
“I hate saying it, but I can’t vote for a Republican until that party finds a little more balance," Magnotti said after voting in Annapolis.
George Pozgar, 79, said he voted for all Republicans, without even looking at the names of the candidates. He said the value of his retirement fund has fallen sharply since President Joe Biden took office. He said he was much better off during former President Donald Trump's administration.
“I was looking really good, financially, every way you could think of when Trump was in office,” Pozgar said after voting in Annapolis. "I hope it’s all Republican tonight.”
Van Hollen, speaking in an interview Tuesday at a poll in Annapolis, said he would use a second term to support early education, K-12, apprenticeships and workforce training programs.
“We've got to be equipped for the 21st century,” Van Hollen said. "We’ve taken some steps, but we are falling behind in a lot of areas.”
Long a champion of the Chesapeake Bay, Van Hollen has praised passage of clean energy investments this year in the Inflation Reduction Act.
“I also will continue to work here on protecting the Chesapeake Bay and confronting the climate crisis," Van Hollen said Tuesday.
After suffering a minor stroke in May, Van Hollen said: “I'm back 100%.”
“I’ve learned a lot about strokes. They come in all shapes and sizes. Obviously, it was a scary episode, but I’m pleased to report I’m not on any medication, nothing like that," Van Hollen said.
Van Hollen has been a strong advocate of abortion rights. In September, he condemned states that took action to restrict abortion after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v Wade earlier this year.
“I do believe that the nature of our democracy is on the line with all of the Republican election deniers that are on the ballot, and I do think it’s a really important moment for women’s reproductive choice,” the senator said Tuesday.
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