Sparks Fly Over Callahan's Political 'Independence'

September 11, 1991|By Gary Gately | Gary Gately,Staff writer

Former Annapolis mayor Dennis M. Callahan "jumped ship and ran away"when he decided to become an independent instead of working to improve the Democratic party, the party's city chairman says.

Michael T. Brown, who heads the city's Democratic Central Committee, called Callahan's decision to leave the party a purely political move aimed atincreasing his chances of winning the 1993 mayor's race.

Callahan, who says he may run for mayor again in 1993, lost Democratic primaries in his bid for re-election and in his race for the county executive's seat.

He says he registered last week as an Independent because the Democratic party suffers from a lack of organization, focus, unity and teamwork and because he's tired of "petty partisan politics."

Brown countered that Callahan should strive to builda stronger party instead of abandoning it.

"He says the party's not organized, so it's the duty of Dennis Callahan as a Democrat to help make it more organized," Brown said.

"It's clear that that's not what Dennis Callahan wants to do. Instead of working to assist the party, he jumped ship and ran away.

"He just wants the party to hand him victory on a platter."

But Callahan said he no longer identifies with the Democratic party and wants nothing more to do with partisan politics.

"I was guilty of participating in petty politics, and this most definitely spells the end of it," he said. "If I do make a run for office in '93, our campaign will be issue-specific. It will have nothing to do with party lines and we will appeal to the intelligent voter, not the party voter."

Would the loss of support from the party hurt his chances?

"To the best of my knowledge, I've never had the party's support," Callahan said. "I could never find theparty. There's no organization there. It's a mythical entity."

Callahan, who maintains a campaign fund containing about $300, switchedfrom being a Republican to a Democrat just before beginning a campaign that ultimately unseated Richard Hillman as mayor in 1985.

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