Maryland 3rd District
Baltimore, one of America’s major cities since the Revolution, has been transformed into one of America’s star cities. Its Inner Harbor redevelopment, with a spectacular, multilevel aquarium on the water, and its ballpark at Camden Yards are national models. The local cuisine—crab cakes and steamed crabs spiced in a certain way—are known well beyond the watershed of the Chesapeake Bay. The city “prefers diners and taverns tucked into venerable row houses to newer, trendier spots,” wrote The New York Times. The central city of Baltimore has had terrible urban problems—high crime, abandoned neighborhoods, poor schools—but the greater Baltimore area that has grown far beyond the city and county lines fares better and retains a distinctive character. This is a city built solidly on commerce, and one that has always maintained a relaxed air. To the south, Annapolis was laid out as a capital in 1694, with one circle planned for the Statehouse and one for the Church. The marble-halled Statehouse, built in 1772, is where the Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris and is the oldest state capitol in continuous use. Annapolis is also the home of the U.S. Naval Academy, and the city’s waterfront, though gentrified, is a waterman’s port as well as a yachter’s.
2008 Presidential Vote
|Cook Partisan Voting Index|
The 3rd Congressional District of Maryland consists of three oddly disjointed pieces of geography that extend from the locus of the Inner Harbor area. Its boundaries were designed by Democrats with politics in mind: The 3rd borders the majority-black 7th District on three sides and is itself bordered on three sides by the 2nd District, which redistricters made even more Democratic than the 3rd. One spoke extends northeast from black city neighborhoods into mostly white suburbs. Another extends north and west from the city to the Baltimore County seat of Towson and the heavily Jewish suburbs of Pikesville and Owings Mills, past the array of temples and synagogues on Park Heights Avenue in Baltimore city. The largest bloc of voters is in the crooked spoke that extends southwest, past the old row-house neighborhoods overlooking Fort McHenry and out past blue-collar Arbutus into Linthicum in Anne Arundel County and continuing to Annapolis. Just over one-third of the district population resides in Anne Arundel, including all of Annapolis; a quarter resides within Baltimore city, in such neighborhoods as Roland Park, and among the restaurants and bars of Little Italy and Fells Point. Another small slice of the 3rd consists of parts of Elkridge and Columbia in Howard County. Redistricting left the new 3rd District less Democratic than it had been; Bush’s percentage of the vote increased from 34% in 2000 to 45% in 2004. But the district remains safely Democratic.