Congress incumbents feeling less heat Sun endorsements: Voters have fewer choices than when 'throw the bums out' mentality reigned.

August 16, 1998

A box Sunday incorrectly listed the name of a 2nd Congressional District candidate, Walter T. Kuebler.

The Sun regrets the error.

TWO YEARS AGO, "throw the bums out" was a rallying cry. Several of Maryland's eight congressional districts produced spirited challenges. That's less the case in 1998.

Low joblessness and the Monica Lewinsky scandal have drained energy, and focus, from the 105th Congress. The following are choices Marylanders have for the 106th, and our recommendations for the Sept. 15 primary:


1st District

Four-term incumbent Wayne T. Gilchrest has no challenger in the GOP primary. Democratic candidates are Thomas Morse Jenkins, Irving Pinder, John Rea and Michael J. Serabian Sr.

Mr. Pinder is the most attractive of the four challengers.

He was a Queenstown commissioner and deputy director of Maryland's Office of Aging from 1995 to 1997.

2nd District

In this district, which covers eastern Baltimore County, Harford County and Anne Arundel County's Pasadena, Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. is unopposed in the Republican primary.

Of four Democratic candidates, Ronald P. Bowers, a retired federal worker, is by far the best.

Mr. Bowers spent 30 years with the Social Security Administration as a budget manager and, later, as a general manager. Mr. Bowers has an impressive grasp of the federal budget, particularly the problems facing Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

3rd District

Benjamin L. Cardin, 54, toyed with the idea of running for governor this year, having been a power in the House of Delegates for 19 years. In the end, he decided to continue his 11-year career in Washington, where he serves on two powerful House committees -- budget, and ways and means.

The same qualities that made him successful in Annapolis have made him highly regarded on Capitol Hill: He studies matters thoroughly and argues them thoughtfully.

He has our support for the Democratic nomination against Dan Hiegel, a perennial candidate.

Colin Felix Harby, a design engineer, is the only GOP candidate.

4th District

Three-term incumbent Albert R. Wynn is again seeking the Democratic Party nomination. Against Krisnan Persaud and E. Richard Rosenthal, Mr. Wynn deserves his party's nod.

Among three Republicans campaigning for nomination, John W. Wrightson stands out.

A 48-year-old juvenile probation officer, he is a serious candidate whose conservative views on spending and morality would give voters an alternative in November.

5th District

Since 1990 redistricting, Steny H. Hoyer has had a bull's-eye on his head. Conventional wisdom was that Mr. Hoyer's deftness as a politician wasn't enough to overcome a shift in the boundaries of the area he represented. He gained a constituency more conservative than his voting record. But Mr. Hoyer has shown that in the lexicon of politics, "partisan" begins with a small P, but "pork" starts with a capital P. Thousands of jobs he helped secure for Patuxent River Naval Air Station solidified his support among Southern Maryland voters.

Mr. Hoyer deserves his party's nomination for a 10th term over Orville Arnett of Laurel.

Running unopposed for the Republican nomination is Robert B. Ostrom, a former attorney for Prince George's County.

6th District

Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett has no challenge for the GOP nomination. Political novice Timothy D. McCown is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

Mr. Bartlett, 72, has served three terms in the House, reflecting extremely conservative views that he maintains represent his district. Mr. McCown, 48, who is making his first run for office, operates a drug and alcohol counseling service. His campaign stresses social service and economic needs.

7th District

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings has token opposition in the Democratic primary. Mr. Cummings, who has represented the district for less than three years after being named to finish the term of NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, deserves renomination.

Three Republicans are fighting for the chance to oppose him. Our support goes to Antonio W. Campbell, 33, a GOP Central Committee member who has worked for two congressmen in Washington.

8th District

Rep. Constance A. Morella is seeking a seventh term. She faces opposition in the Republican primary from Luis F. Columba. Ms. Morella deserves another nomination.

Seven Democrats are running in that primary. The best choice is former civil rights lobbyist Ralph G. Neas. Now a business consultant, Mr. Neas worked as a legislative aide in Congress before becoming executive director of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights in 1981.

U.S. House

1st District: D: Thomas Morse Jenkins, Irving Pinder, John Rea, Michael J. Serabian Sr. R: Wayne T. Gilcrest.

2nd: D: Kenneth T. Bosley, Ronald P. Bowers, James Edward DeLoach Jr., Wayne T. Kuebler. R: Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. O: John J. Sweeney.

3rd: D: Benjamin L. Cardin, Dan Hiegel. R: Colin Felix Harby.

4th: D: Krisnan Persaud, E. Richard Rosenthal, Albert R. Wynn R: John B. Kimble, Roscoe Jerome Mitchell, John W. Wrightson.

5th: D: Orville Arnett, Steny H. Hoyer. R: Robert B. Ostrom.

6th: Timothy D. McCown. R: Roscoe G. Bartlett.

7th: D: Elijah E. Cummings, Joseph E. Ward. R: Antonio W. Campbell, Dorothy C. Jennings, Kenneth Kondner.

8th: D: Mignon Bush Davis, Donald M. Deichman, George English, Donald E. Geis, Michael Anthony Enriques Ibanez, Ralph G. Neas, Deborah A. Vollmer. R: Luis F. Columba, Constance A. Morella.

Data: Salary: $136,673. Term: two years.

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