The Columbia Democratic Club was at work last night to spur local interest in Maryland's March 7 presidential primary election.
With a membership of 80, the club has sponsored several well-attended meetings lately, said Vice President Neil Quinter, who presided at last night's event at Jeffers Hill Neighborhood Center in Columbia.
After spirited speeches from members and others, Vice President Al Gore won the club's endorsement for the party presidential nomination over former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, 28-13.
Gore's issues "resonate in Howard County," said Carole Fisher, secretary of the Maryland Democratic Party.
Fisher said Gore is the only candidate who does not support school vouchers and is a strong supporter of education and the environment.
She spoke to a crowd that included most of the county's 17 nonpartisan school board candidates.
Bob Ward, a club member and treasurer of Bradley's Howard County organization, didn't let being the underdog intimidate him despite the numerous Gore stickers.
"In this age of prosperity, it is unconscionable for us not to dream big," Ward said, referring to Bradley's plans for universal health care, and support for "sensible" gun control and racial harmony.
Ward added: "He's the only candidate out there with the guts to say that [racial harmony] is something we have to talk about."
Pricilla Hart, a Bradley supporter, said: "I get an honesty from Bradley and a fresh perspective on issues. I'm looking for a change."
The club gave each school board candidate a minute to speak and also heard from George English, 60, of Montgomery County, a federal retiree who is challaneging incumbent U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. Sarbanes won the club's endorsement.
Three Democratic candidates for the 6th District congressional nomination attended, but the club endorsed a fourth, John Ewald, a teacher from North Laurel, who was not present.
The other candidates are Anthony J. McGuffin, 47, of Ellicott City, Don DeArmon, 44, of Frederick and Walter E. Carson, 56, of western Howard County.
The four are seeking to oppose the Republican incumbent Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett Jr.