Democratic nominee, outcast for conservative views, gains support

September 29, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

Ralph T. Gies, the Democratic nominee for the 1st District congressional seat who has been shunned by the state party for his conservative views, found some support closer to home.

The three Democratic nominees for the House of Delegates from District 33 -- David G. Boschert, Michael Canning and Marsha G. Perry -- yesterday announced their endorsement of Mr. Gies, a resident of Gambrills and the district.

Mr. Gies' three fellow Democrats from western Anne Arundel County were reacting to a statement made by Ralph Gervasio, acting executive director of the Maryland State Democratic Party, who said the party would not support him in his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Wayne T. Gilchrest.

Mr. Gervasio said Mr. Gies, an accountant who holds conservative views on issues such as abortion and school prayer, is simply at odds with the party's positions.

Mr. Boschert, Mr. Canning and Ms. Perry said they were outraged that the state party would not support one of its own.

"It is absurd to say that only people of certain philosophies belong in the Democratic party," Ms. Perry said.

"He's just a very strong member of the Catholic Church," she said. "It's coming from his soul, his beliefs. It's not part of any radical fringe group. And so are we saying in the Democratic Party there's no room for Catholic conservatives?"

"I don't agree with Ralph on every issue. Nor would he [with] me. But he hasn't tried to get me kicked out of the Democratic party."

Mr. Canning said he and his colleagues do not view Mr. Gies' conservatism as a bad thing.

"While the average voter in Anne Arundel County -- at least in our district, the 33rd District -- might be a little bit more conservative than the average Democrat in the state of Maryland, we see that as a plus," he said. "It opens up the marketplace of ideas and allows for a greater diversity of views. And our Democrats in our district have spoken."

Mr. Gervasio said the fact that politicians from Mr. Gies' area would support him is only natural.

"I kind of expected the Anne Arundelians to do that. And particularly these three," he said.

Mr. Gervasio said he did not want to comment any further about the question of whether the state party would support Mr. Gies' candidacy because of expected changes in leadership after the executive committee was to meet last night.

Mr. Gies, for his part, is delighted by the attention. He said there has been an outpouring of support since being labeled as an outcast by state party officials.

"We're sitting here chuckling all the time," he said.

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