Members of Congress face little challenge Sun endorsements: Incumbents merit re-election, although some much more so than others.

October 23, 1998

SERIOUS threats to members of Congress up for re-electio are few and far between nationally. The Maryland delegation is no exception. A strong economy -- good for incumbents -- and the huge sums of money required to mount an effective campaign have dampened challenges this election. Here are our endorsements for districts in the Baltimore area and beyond:

Gilchrest for the 1st

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest has been a pragmatic lawmaker who does a good job representing the interests of his district and Maryland. He is not afraid to break ranks with GOP leaders, particularly on environmental issues dear to his constituents.

His Democratic opponent, Irving Pinder of Centreville, who worked for two decades in human services for the state and county, understands the impact of federal legislation on other levels of government. He is a reputable candidate, but doesn't offer enough reasons to replace Mr. Gilchrest.

Ehrlich for the 2nd

Republican Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has been a disappointment. He squandered a chance to show independence after being elected in 1994 and instead carried water for House Speaker Newt Gingrich. That may be opportunist politics, but it is not the way to a consequential career in Washington.

Nevertheless, we endorse him for a third term. His previous tenure as a state legislator in Annapolis showed that he is capable of true leadership. Moreover, his Democratic opponent, Kenneth T. Bosley, is not a strong alternative.

Cardin for the 3rd

In five terms in the House, Democratic Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin has won bipartisan respect as a legislator who studies matters thoroughly and argues them thoughtfully. His skills are well-used on two powerful House committees -- Budget, and Ways and Means. He has our enthusiastic support.

Bartlett for the 6th

Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett has censored magazines in military stores, blocked federal emergency aid to his district and battled for return of national parklands to private ownership.

His extremist voting record does not warrant our endorsement, despite increased attention to constituent concerns. Meager competition, however, leaves us little choice. The Democratic candidate, Timothy D. McCown, an addictions counselor, is an admitted political novice with a liberal bent. He offers little besides distrust of both parties.

It is disappointing that Democrats or forward-looking Republicans have not advanced a credible challenger to Mr. Bartlett. The six-county 6th deserves better.

Cummings for the 7th

In less than three years since he was named to finish the term of NAACP President Kweisi Mfume, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings has made progress in winning friends and influence.

In this overwhelmingly Democratic district, his Republican opponent, Kenneth Kondner, has little hope of winning. Even if he did, Mr. Cummings would be worthy of re-election in his own right.

Pub Date: 10/23/98

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