March is early for Marylanders to turn their attention to congressional elections. But next Tuesday Republican and Democratic voters will choose their candidates for November. In the Republican race for U.S. Senate, our choice is Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly, a thoughtful conservative who, we believe, would be a worthy opponent for the incumbent Democrat, Sen. Barbara Mikulski.
Senator Mikulski faces no serious opposition in her primary; even so, her record as a strong advocate for Maryland has earned our endorsement.
In the House races, we urge Democratic voters in the 6th District to consider a change from the Byron family dynasty that has long represented Western Maryland. Rather than returning Rep. Beverly Byron to Congress, we urge Democratic voters to nominate Del. Tom Hattery, who has become a fiscal expert during his 10 years in the General Assembly representing Frederick and Carroll counties and who, we think, could bring the district vigorous and effective representation in Congress.
For Republicans, our choice is Michael Downey, a businessman and farmer from Thurmont.
In the 1st District, two incumbents get our endorsement. After only one term, Republican Wayne Gilchrest has not had time to compile a substantial record, but he has retained the straightforward integrity that makes him an appealing public servant. Democrat Tom McMillen, who represents the current 4th District, has a slick, almost packaged approach to politics. But he has brought a number of strengths and skills to Congress and deserves the Democratic nomination.
In the 2nd, we endorse Republican Helen Bentley, who has been a forceful advocate for her district and the city. Our choice among the Democrats is Michael C. Hickey Jr., a Harford County lawyer.
In the 3rd District, Democrat Ben Cardin, has been an effective representative in Congress and deserves renomination. The best-qualified of the seven Republican challengers is William T. S. Bricker, a veteran of the Motor Vehicle Administration who now practices law in Towson.
Of the large Democratic field in Maryland's new 4th District, covering Prince George's County and part of Montgomery County, we recommend Prince George's County State's Attorney Alexander Williams, who has shown the ability to stand by principles even at the cost of popularity.
For 4th District Republicans, we endorse Michele Dyson, who founded a computer information company and has made black business development a major campaign issue.
In the 5th District (portions of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties and Southern Maryland), we endorse Rep. Steny Hoyer. As the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House, he has been a powerful advocate for Maryland. For Republicans, the best choice is Lawrence J. Hogan Jr., a real estate broker whose father served in Congress and as Prince George's County executive.
Rep. Kweisi Mfume has provided strong representation for Baltimore City's 7th District and deserves renomination. We endorse him. Kenneth Kondner is the lone Republican candidate.
In the 8th District, Rep. Connie Morella is unopposed in the Republican primary. On the Democratic side, we recommend James Walker, a builder with progressive ideas on issues.