Morella, Hoyer, Wynn for Congress

November 04, 1994

In a year in which many members of Congress are running for their political lives, incumbents in Maryland's Fourth, Fifth and Eighth Districts face relatively smooth sailing. All three are veteran lawmakers who deserve to be returned to office.

The most interesting race is in the 5th District, which includes Southern Maryland and parts of Prince George's County. There, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, the fourth-ranking House Democrat, faces Republican Donald Devine, a former Reagan administration personnel chief. Mr. Devine has focused on the four counties that make up the newest parts of Mr. Hoyer's district -- all of which the congressman lost in 1992.

Mr. Devine has serious liabilities. His tenure as federal personnel director was so controversial he couldn't win confirmation to a second term from a Republican-controlled Senate. His calls for cutting benefits, limiting raises and eliminating jobs alienated many of the 57,000 federal workers in the district; he alienated his own party after a former deputy at OPM accused him of asking her to lie to a Senate committee about his maneuvers to continue running the agency after his first term expired.

Mr. Hoyer fits the definition of a professional politician. Yet he has amply demonstrated that he can get the job done. In a year when incumbency is often a liability, Mr. Hoyer's record as Maryland's most influential congressman speaks for itself.

Former state Del. Albert R. Wynn of Prince George's County became the state's second African-American congressman after the legislature created the new Fourth District in 1991 to satisfy the federal Voting Rights Act. In 1992, he defeated by a wide margin GOP candidate Michele Dyson, a Montgomery County businesswoman who is running again this year. Mr. Wynn has adequately represented his constituents since then. He has earned another term.

In the Eighth District, Republican Rep. Constance A. Morella of ,, Bethesda faces token opposition from Democrat Steven vanGrack, a former mayor of Rockville. Ms. Morella is a moderate Republican in the tradition of Theodore R. McKeldin and Charles McC. Mathias. In our view she is far and away the better candidate to represent Montgomery County residents and to fight for moderation in state GOP politics.

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