Father and son pols simultaneously seek Maryland seats in Congress

December 05, 1993|By Karyn Spellman | Karyn Spellman,Capitol News Service

FREDERICK -- Larry Hogan Jr. vowed he would run again for Congress on election night in 1992 after losing to 5th District Democratic Rep. Steny Hoyer.

But his effort to build on the Hogan political legacy -- started by his father, Larry Hogan Sr., a former congressman and county executive -- could be overshadowed.

The elder Mr. Hogan also will run in 1994 for a Maryland congressional seat. He said recently he will challenge friend and 6th District Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.

Neither Hogan has officially announced his candidacy, but both have made it clear they intend to run for the GOP nominations.

Political observers agree that simultaneous father-son candidacies are rare. Del Ali, vice president of Mason-Dixon Political/Media Research, said that sons have succeeded fathers Congress, wives have succeeded husbands, but he "can't think of any fathers and sons running together -- at least not in my lifetime."

The younger Mr. Hogan, 37, who owns and runs a real estate business in Bowie, said he wasn't sure at first how to take his father's news. "I thought it was a good thing for him, but I thought it would be bad for my campaign," said the Upper Marlboro resident, whose first job out of college was as a senior assistant to his father.

The younger Mr. Hogan said that he thought people would get them confused before the election. And if they both won, keeping track of them and their records in Congress could border on chaotic, he said.

But he said that he remembered how much his father took to politics while helping him in his 1992 campaign. "It was like bringing back all of the old memories for him," Mr. Hogan Jr. said.

The elder Mr. Hogan, 65, was Maryland's 5th District representative from 1968 to 1974 and Prince George's County executive from 1978 to 1982. His son ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination in the 5th District in 1981.

In 1992, after the district was reconfigured, he made it to the general election. Mr. Hoyer beat him, 53 percent to 44 percent, but the younger Mr. Hogan won in four of the district's five counties.

Although father and son agree that the family connection in next year's elections will heighten their publicity, they don't plan to start printing "Hogan and Hogan for Congress" bumper stickers or to broadcast that slogan on radio.

Both Hogans said a dual campaign isn't practical. The districts are too far apart for the name game to be effective.

The 5th District includes parts of Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties and Charles, St. Mary's and Calvert counties. The 6th District includes part of Howard County, all of Carroll County and Western Maryland's Garrett, Allegany, Washington and Frederick counties.

The elder Mr. Hogan, who lives in Frederick, said he has a "great deal of respect" for his son's political abilities. "I think his political instincts are better than mine," he said. The two enjoy giving each other advice. The elder Mr. Hogan said he talks to his son almost every day, sometimes up to five or six times a day.

Their similarities transcend genetic ties. Both name crime as their primary issue and say the government needs to be trimmed and shouldn't get too involved in health care. But they disagree on abortion. The elder Mr. Hogan does not support abortion rights, but his son does.

A win in 1994 would settle the younger Mr. Hogan into his first elective office, but Capitol Hill already has a familiar feel to him.

He said he has campaigned for his father since he was 10. "I was 12 years old, hanging out on Capitol Hill," said the younger Mr. Hogan. "While some kids were reading comic books, I was on the floor reading the Congressional Record."

The elder Mr. Hogan said he initially tried to discourage his son from running for office in 1992 because of the sacrifices members of Congress must make in their personal lives.

But the elder Mr. Hogan, who retired from his law practice on Oct. 1, said he eventually encouraged his son and is now disregarding his own advice for what he says is for the good of Western Maryland.

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