Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

John Pitney

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One of the thirteen original states, Maryland is located on the East Coast. It consists of two main sections that are separated by the Chesapeake Bay: the Eastern Shore, which is east of the Chesapeake, and mainland Maryland, west of the Chesapeake. As a whole, Maryland is a blue state. The East Shore is different: it has Republican House member, Andy Harris, and holds different values from the rest of the state, and it votes differently, too. In the 2020 election, Biden won the statewide vote 65-32 percent – but Trump carried Harris’s district 56-42 percent.

The people of the Eastern Shore formed their own culture and have long seen themselves as separate from the rest of the state. The Eastern Shore’s geographic separation and limited accessibility help explain how this unique culture persists to this day. Despite advances in transportation and communication, geographic isolation reinforces demographic differences from the rest of the state. All of these elements help explain how the Eastern Shore votes. In short, its geographic isolation helps give rise to a unique cultural and political identity that aligns with the Republican Party.

After analyzing the unique culture, this thesis will make recommendations on how to gain voters on the Eastern Shore. It will compare Andy Harris’s campaign to his opponents’ failed campaigns to show successful and unsuccessful techniques. This thesis recommends that to win on the Eastern Shore, candidates should show up and understand the Shore’s rural character.