Gop Targets Mikulski And Mcmillen

Candidates Try To Tap Anti-incumbency Vote

May 26, 1991|By Samuel Goldreich | Samuel Goldreich,Staff writer

Two Crofton residents believe they can ride to Congress next year onthe same wave of voter discontent that washed many Maryland Democrats out of office in 1990.

Both Republicans hope to build on the results of previous election defeats.

Eugene R. Zarwell, an international marketing consultant, never stopped campaigning after placing fourth in Maryland's nine-man Republican Senate primary in 1988.

"That was just the beginning," he said last week. "That was to get name recognition."

And former Crofton Civic Association president Robert Duckworth laid a credible foundation last year for his second challenge to Representative Tom McMillen, D-4th.

Zarwell, a political unknown in 1988, came in second in Anne Arundel with 4,298 votes. Thomas Blair, a Montgomery County businessman, captured 5,625 Anne Arundel votes and the GOP nomination.

Blair later dropped out of the race, and Democratic incumbent Sen. Paul Sarbanes cruised past the Republican's last-minute replacement, Alan Keyes, to his third term.

With a running start, Zarwell says he can do better this time against freshman Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

"I've been running basically since June 1987," he said. "This is not something we're throwing together this year."

As befitsa man who worked for almost 30 years in military public relations, Zarwell has devised detailed campaign plans for positive advertising and negative attacks.

Described in a fund-raising package mailed tothe media in March, Zarwell's first campaign stage -- begun last July and scheduled to end in December -- concentrates on developing "an influencer network among Maryland Business leaders," identifying contributors and building a staff.

The sixth and final stage will be devoted to post-victory "clean-up operations," geared to reminding people "that re-election is only six years away."

The 19-page campaign plan -- available for a $100 donation -- stresses that Zarwell can mount a viable challenge either against Sarbanes in 1994 or Mikulski next year.

The plan gives a brief synopsis of Zarwell's stand on some broad issues -- from the 1988 campaign.

"We really haven't defined issues per se," he said. But that doesn't stop him from expounding at length on everything from reforming education to preserving U.S. strength through international trade.

The election cycle is accelerated by the March 10 primary next year, which has a Dec. 27 deadline for candidates who wish to file.

Duckworth and state Republicans see McMillen as the representative most primed for defeat after Wayne Gilchrest captured the 1st District seat from Democrat Roy Dyson last year.

McMillen won re-election by a margin of 18 percent. But Republicans say Duckworth stands a chance next year if he can narrow the $298,000 campaign spending advantage the incumbent enjoyed.

"Mr. McMillen did not win as large a mandate as he should have as a third-term man," said Laura Green Treffer, chairwoman of the county's Republican Central Committee.

McMillen's hold on the seat could slipif redistricting shifts some of his Democratic strength to preserve U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer's 5th District seat.

Duckworth contributed $33,000 to his campaign last year, but this time he has challenged McMillen to agree to a voluntary spending limit of $350,000 per candidate.

A retired U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development planner, Duckworth is devoting all of his time to politics. He has tapped into the county's anti-tax sentiment by drafting Anne Arundel Taxpayers Association president Robert Schaeffer as his unofficialcampaign manager.

Although state Republican officials are neutralin the primary, they have given Duckworth a vote of confidence and aplatform from which to attack McMillen by naming him the party's spokesman on federal issues.

The two candidates share military backgrounds. Duckworth watched the Berlin Wall go up as an 82nd Airborne medic, and Zarwell has served as an Army reservist since 1963.

They share the traditional Republican suspicion of welfare programs, deficit spending and Democrats' proposals to promote tax relief for middle- and working-class Americans by higher taxes on the wealthy. Both men support promoting educational excellence by opening up public schools to free enterprise competition.

Zarwell said the United States can learn to reform itself by helping the Soviet Union rebuild its economy and embrace democratic institutions.

"They're starting to develop the basics, but here we're so far gone we don't know what the basics are," he said.

Republicans can help Americans return to basics that the Democrats have twisted, Duckworth said.

As an example,he offered the 1991 Civil Rights Bill, to which Democrats have appended anti-quota strictures. The measure is intended to help minoritiesfight job discrimination through the courts.

"This is not a civilrights bill. It's a special privilege bill," Duckworth said. "The Democrats have been preaching division for a long time on this."

Thetwo Republicans are divided on abortion.

Duckworth opposes abortion except in cases of a threat to the mother's life, rape or incest. Zarwell opposes government funding of abortion as birth control but favors no government interference in private choices.

"Every time you have a problem, you shouldn't take the easy way out," said Duckworth, who was put up for adoption as an infant by his teen-aged mother.

"I don't want them regulating on either side the right to life orthe right to choice," Zarwell said.

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