Eastern Shore state senator to challenge Mikulski next year

October 11, 2003|By Del Quentin Wilber | Del Quentin Wilber,SUN STAFF

A first-term state senator from the Eastern Shore has scheduled appearances across the state Monday to announce his decision to run against U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski next year.

Republican Sen. E.J. Pipkin, who rose to prominence after defeating a veteran committee chairman last year, declined to comment on the scheduled appearances, including one at Waters Edge Park in Dundalk at 11 a.m.

Pipkin's decision to run drew praise from State GOP Chairman John Kane.

"We're really excited that Senator Pipkin is running," Kane said. "We've been after Senator Pipkin for the last five months to consider running. ... For the good of the Republican Party, he has agreed to take the plunge and make a go of it."

Pipkin, a former Wall Street bond trader, lent himself $573,000 in his successful bid to unseat Sen. Walter M. Baker last year.

An August poll by Gonzales Research & Marketing Strategies found 53 percent of Maryland voters saying they would vote to re-elect Mikulski to a fourth term in November next year; 13 percent said they would definitely vote to replace her.

Kane said internal polling showed that Mikulski is "not very strong" and that Pipkin has a "legitimate chance to beat" her.

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