Losing his 1990 bid for re-election in his northeastern Baltimore County Council district by 529 votes to a 28-year-old political upstart was bad enough.
But when the former councilman, William R. Evans, began getting complaints from his in-laws about being solicited for contributions by Mr. Evans' Republican successor, he decided to take action.
And so came the three-paragraph letter that Mr. Evans, a lawyer, sent to "The Honorable William A. Howard 4th, R.6th," this month:
"It is obvious that you have taken their [Evans' contributors] names from my annual disclosure statements.
"It is . . . appalling to me that you find it necessary to solicit financial contributions from people who are complete strangers to you.
"I urge you to cease this activity immediately."
Mr. Evans' letter characterized Mr. Howards' fund-raising methods as "insensitive."
Yesterday, he added, "People should develop their own contributors."
Mr. Evans complained that Mr. Howard solicited money from his brother- and sister-in-law and his personal friends.
His sister-in-law, Janet Potler, who lives in Baltimore, said she was "really disgusted" by Mr. Howard's request for money, noting that she cannot vote in the county anyway and that she made contributions to Mr. Evans only because he is a relative and "a good man."
Mr. Howard admitted that he copied Mr. Evans' list of contributors and tried to sell $25 tickets to his March 31 fund-raiser to those on the roster.
But, he said, "it's not an uncommon practice."
"It's a public list," he said. Mr. Howard added that if Mr. Evans had called him, he would have dropped the former councilman's relatives from his mailing list.
Mr. Evans' response, he charged, is "sour grapes."