WASHINGTON - Del. David G. Boschert has dropped out of the race for the 3rd District in Congress, leaving Anne Arundel Circuit Clerk Robert Duckworth as the only Republican seeking to unseat Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.
"I'm going to bow out of the race due to a family health concern," Boschert said yesterday. "It's my son - he's had some health problems since last December. I have to be a father right now."
The Anne Arundel County Republican delegate had said he would be a better candidate against Cardin than Duckworth, who announced his bid last month after being recruited by the Maryland Republican Party. But instead of facing Duckworth in the March 2 primary, Boschert said that he will now be supporting Duckworth's bid.
Boschert met Duckworth this week to tell him he was withdrawing from the race.
"I will certainly throw my support behind Mr. Duckworth," Boschert said.
Duckworth said he is confident that he can get the votes to win Cardin's seat.
"I have run for Congress before. I'm a very strong candidate and a good vote-getter in Anne Arundel County," Duckworth said. "We think we can win this district. It's a district that's in play."
The state party apparently thinks so, too. It recruited Duckworth months after Boschert announced his candidacy in March.
"We recruited [Duckworth] because we thought he was the best candidate to take on Cardin," said state GOP Executive Director Eric Sutton.
But Democrats said they expect Cardin to easily retain the seat he has held since 1986, despite the challenge. Josh White, executive director of the party, said that Cardin's popularity will help him win.
"Ben Cardin is just extremely popular in his district," White said.
Boschert said yesterday that he believes he would have been a more formidable challenger to Cardin because of his local and state-level legislative experience. But running was no longer an option.
"There is nobody more qualified to run against an incumbent than me," Boschert said. "I would love to have been a part of it, but family comes first, and that's where my priorities are now."