Paul D. Muldowney, a Hagerstown businessman and former two-term Democratic member of the House of Delegates, said yesterday that he is running for the Western Maryland congressional seat held by Republican Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.
Mr. Muldowney becomes the fourth Democrat to enter the race against Mr. Bartlett, a conservative freshman whose surprise victory in 1992 followed the defeat of the veteran 6th District Rep. Beverly B. Byron in the Democratic primary.
Without directly criticizing the incumbent, Mr. Muldowney said he is "running to give the Sixth District the most effective and best representation possible." Of the Democrats in the race, he said, he is the only one with legislative experience and business experience.
A father of seven children, he cited crime, health care, education, the economy and a balanced budget as important issues, asking rhetorically, "Can you imagine what it would be like if we had one-half the money that goes for the national debt to spend" on nTC social and other programs?
Mr. Muldowney, 58, lost his legislative seat in 1986 to Del. Bruce Poole after his efforts to change the state pension system raised the ire of employee unions, including teachers, and his efforts to limit gambling at fraternal clubs earned him the enmity of their members.
He enters the race at a time when Mr. Bartlett's standing in the district, which stretches from Ellicott City to far Western Maryland, seems to have improved after a shaky start.
Nevertheless, Mr. Bartlett is considered one of the most vulnerable freshmen. A former Republican congressman from Prince George's County, Lawrence J. Hogan, who now lives in Frederick and co-chaired Mr. Bartlett's 1992 campaign, has said he will run.
In 1992, a sign supporting Mr. Bartlett's candidacy was displayed in front of the Hagerstown concrete block company partly owned by Mr. Muldowney, a step he ascribes to his business partner, who headed an organization of Democrats who supported the Republican candidate.
Other Democrats who have entered the race are Neil Dhillon, 31, of Cumberland, a former congressional aide and former Clinton administration official; Donald McC. DeArmon, 38, of Frederick, an aide to a North Carolina congressman; and Galen R. Clagett, 51, a former Frederick County Commissioner.