Chris Van Hollen of Maryland wins second term in Senate

Democratic US Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland won a second term on 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 safe for Democrats.

Van Hollen, 63, was elected to the Senate in 2016 after serving seven terms in the US House of Representatives.

Voters who supported Van Hollen described him as a reliable Democrat with a long history in Maryland. Mary Magnotti said that she voted for Van Hollen, as well as as many other Democrats as she could.

“I hate to say 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 all Republican, without even looking at the names of the candidates. He said the value of his retirement fund has fallen dramatically since President Joe Biden took office. He said he was much better off during the administration of former President Donald Trump.

“I looked great financially, in every way you can think of when Trump was in office,” Pozgar said after voting in Annapolis. “I hope everything is 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 job training programs.

“We have to be equipped for the 21st century,” Van Hollen said. “We have made some steps, but we are falling behind in many areas.”

A longtime advocate for the Chesapeake Bay, Van Hollen praised the passage of clean energy investments this year in the Reduce Inflation Act.

“I will also continue to work here to protect the Chesapeake Bay and address the climate crisis,” Van Hollen said Tuesday.

After suffering a minor stroke in May, Van Hollen said, “I’m back 100%.”

“I have learned a lot about strokes. They come in all shapes and sizes. It was obviously a scary episode, but I’m happy to report that I’m not on any medication, nothing like that,” Van Hollen said.

Van Hollen has been a strong advocate for abortion rights. In September, he condemned states that took steps to restrict abortion after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade earlier this year.

“I think the nature of our democracy is at stake with all the Republicans denying the elections that are on the ballot, and I think this is a really important time for women’s reproductive choice,” the senator said Tuesday.