Like father, like son, like few before

THE POLITICAL GAME

December 08, 1993|By John B. O'Donnell | John B. O'Donnell,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Larry Hogan says that when he was sworn in as a member of Congress for the first time, he turned to his 12-year-old son standing next to him on the House floor and said, "You raise your hand and take the oath. That way, we'll get two congressmen."

More than a quarter-century after that ceremony, the two Hogans are trying to turn that fantasy into reality. Mr. Hogan and his son, Larry J. Hogan Jr., now 37, could be taking the oath side-by-side as Republican members of the House in January 1995, though it would take a couple of upset victories to put them there.

The elder Hogan, a Prince George's County congressman from 1969 to 1975, moved to Frederick 11 years ago after his last political campaign, an unsuccessful challenge to Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. Now, he is planning a political comeback, a run for the Western Maryland seat held by fellow Republican Roscoe G. Bartlett.

Meantime, his son, a resident of Upper Marlboro, is running again for the Southern Maryland seat held by Rep. Steny H. Hoyer.

A double Hogan victory might be a long shot, but it's far from a no shot. The senior Hogan, a veteran of many races, is considered an aggressive campaigner with the ability to raise money. Mr. Bartlett is widely thought to be vulnerable.

The junior Hogan, despite Mr. Hoyer's 6-1 spending advantage, came close last year to unseating the incumbent in the redrawn 5th District, which is much more conservative than it was before redistricting required by the 1990 census.

Accustomed to winning by margins of 70 percent or better, Mr. Hoyer managed to get only 53 percent of the vote in 1992. Now, the junior Hogan is gearing up to take him on again, even as Mr. Hoyer is working hard to retain the seat.

History is replete with examples of fathers and sons, and husbands and wives, who have served in Congress, usually at different times. Occasionally, parent and child have served together, one in the Senate and one in the House, as was the case with Barry Goldwater and his son Barry Goldwater Jr., who represented Arizona and California, respectively, and the Symingtons of Missouri. A Baltimore native, Stuart Symington was in the Senate and his son, James W. Symington, was in the House.

In Maryland, the Beall and Tydings families were represented by fathers and sons in the Senate at different times. And the 6th District of Western Maryland sent four Byrons to the House -- father, mother, son and daughter-in-law. But rare are the cases where a parent and child have served simultaneously in the Senate or in the House.

The Senate Historical Office cites one mid-19th century case. Sen. Henry Dodge represented Wisconsin while his son, Sen. Augustus C. Dodge, was representing Iowa.

In the House, according to historian's office, there have been at least two cases. Republican Frances P. Bolton represented a Cleveland-area district for nearly three decades in the middle of this century while her son, Oliver P. Bolton, was sent to Congress three times in the 1950s and 1960s by a northeastern Ohio district. And, during the 19th century, the Dodges, father and son, served together as territorial delegates.

The senior Hogan, 65, recently retired from his law practice to prepare for his campaign. His son is a real estate broker and consultant and probably won't begin his full-time campaign until summer.

They say that the senior Hogan's most difficult race will be the primary, claiming that if he can unhorse Mr. Bartlett in September he will have a good chance of defeating the Democratic nominee in the conservative, increasingly Republican district. The younger Hogan is confident of winning the primary, though there are at least two possible GOP opponents, and he says his most difficult problem would be defeating Mr. Hoyer in November.

Politically, said the senior Hogan, "we are pretty much in sync with each other."

His son, he adds, "may be a bit more conservative than I am." For example, the father supported President Gerald Ford in 1976 while the son supported challenger Ronald Reagan. Four years later, the father supported George Bush while he was a candidate for president as the son again supported Mr. Reagan.

"I did see the light," says the senior Hogan, who was Prince George's County executive in 1980. "I became county chairman for Reagan."

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