O'Malley family dynasty falters

The Political Game

Defeat: Patrick O'Malley's loss in the New York City primary apparently has delayed his launch of a political career.

October 02, 2001|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

TALK OF AN O'Malley family political dynasty is on hold.

Patrick O'Malley, the younger brother of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, finished a distant fourth last week in a field of five candidates in the rescheduled New York City primary. He was running for City Council in the 26th District in Queens.

Martin O'Malley was heading to New York on the original primary day -- Sept. 11 -- to help his brother's campaign. The mayor turned back when he learned of the attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Patrick O'Malley, 34, is a former assistant district attorney who practices law in Manhattan. He's had a tougher time than his older brother launching a political career; a year ago, he lost a race for state assembly in New York.

Still, in reporting on this year's City Council races, New York's Daily News said Patrick O'Malley "does well in debates." The paper also said he lagged in fund raising and that "few see him winning."

For the record, the primary was won by Eric Gioia, 28, an attorney and former Gore campaign worker with ties to former Rep. Thomas Manton of Queens. Gioia garnered about 4,500 votes, compared with fewer than 1,500 for O'Malley.

State GOP leadership takes step to the right

After the unexpected retirement of state Sen. Martin G. Madden of Howard County, Republicans in search of new leaders looked in one direction: to the right.

Senate Republicans last week selected Sen. J. Lowell Stoltzfus, whose 38th District covers Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties, as minority leader. Replacing Stoltzfus as minority whip will be Sen. Larry E. Haines of Carroll County.

Stoltzfus is a staunch fiscal and social conservative, and Haines is known for his firm opposition to abortion and infringements on gun ownership. Together, the senators make up the GOP's most right-leaning leadership team in some time.

As recently as 1998, both top positions were held by moderates. Now, for the first time in many years, the Senate's Republican leaders are more conservative than their House counterparts.

In an interview yesterday, Stoltzfus promised to maintain a good working relationship with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, a Prince George's Democrat who has long complained of the rightward tilt of Maryland Republicans. Madden was considered a moderate who earned respect on both sides of the aisle.

"I'm interested in pretty much continuing the path my predecessor did," Stoltzfus said. "I'm not a slash-and-burn kind of guy."

He said Miller's complaints are to be expected.

"He's going to use any opportunity, I think, to be the opposing party advocate and to discredit the Republicans," Stoltzfus said. "It's certainly to their benefit to color us as radical."

Schaefer still appears comfortable on fence

For months, political observers have been waiting for state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer to announce his intentions for next year. While most think he will seek re-election, Schaefer, 79, has not ruled out a run for governor -- the job he held for eight years,

His stock response when asked about the election: "I'm going to run." After a perfectly timed pause, he adds: "For something."

Some thought the game ended last month on the Eastern Shore. After an appearance in Denton, the Easton Star-Democrat ran an article with the headline "Schaefer will run again."

"I'm a lawyer, but I don't want to be attorney general and I've already been governor," the paper quoted Schaefer as saying. "I haven't been lieutenant governor, but ... I like being comptroller."

Last week, Schaefer's aides had no problem with the story. But by yesterday, they had changed their minds, saying the Easton paper got it wrong.

Schaefer "said he did not announce in Easton," said Michael D. Golden, a deputy director in the comptroller's office. "All he said is he likes being comptroller. The reason he did not announce is that he does not know what he wants to run for."

At a Democratic Party awards ceremony in Woodlawn last night, Schaefer agreed, saying, "No formal announcement" has been made.

Apparently, the pickets haven't grown too uncomfortable yet, and Schaefer is content to stay atop the fence a little longer.

Catonsville delegate urges rejection of Bush nominee

State Del. Donald E. Murphy, a Catonsville Republican, is continuing his efforts to allow using marijuana for medical purposes by asking U.S. senators to oppose President Bush's nomination of John Walters as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

"In an administration which prides itself on returning power to the states, Mr. Walters' drug policies regarding medicinal use of marijuana would do just the opposite," he said in a letter sent by e-mail last week.

Murphy became an unlikely convert to the medical marijuana cause after learning of Darrell Putman, a former Green Beret and Howard County resident who died of cancer in 1999. Putman smoked marijuana to stimulate his appetite and gain weight to withstand grueling treatments for lymphoma.

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