Oz Bengur, an investment banker who waged a spirited but unsuccessful campaign against Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger three years ago, said yesterday that he is running for Congress again.
Five other Democrats have declared for the seat being vacated by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, and more may be on the way, but Bengur said his business experience and outsider's perspective will give him an edge. He said he raised $100,000 in the past month and spent much of that time knocking on voters' doors.
FOR THE RECORD - An article in yesterday's Maryland section incorrectly stated congressional candidate Oz Bengur's current position at the investment firm Bengur Bryan & Co. Although Bengur co-founded the firm, he is now a senior adviser.
The Sun regrets the errors
"They're fed up with politics as usual," Bengur said. "They want change, and they want Democrats to stand up and speak out. It's my style to speak out."
Bengur, 56, is a principal in the Baltimore investment banking firm Bengur Bryan & Co. and has started several small businesses. As a young man, he worked for the state governments of Massachusetts and Maine, dealing with juvenile justice, housing, business regulation, energy and government finance.
In 2002, he made his first run for public office in a largely self-financed campaign against Ruppersberger, who was then Baltimore County executive and a heavy favorite in the 2nd Congressional District race.
Bengur ran a series of television ads sharply critical of Ruppersberger's ties to developers and the executive's failed plan to use condemnation to spur economic revitalization. He also engaged in some campaign stunts, such as challenging the executive to 5-kilometer races throughout the district.
Bengur received 36 percent of the primary vote. He has since moved to Rodgers Forge in Baltimore County, which is part of the 3rd District.
In this campaign, Bengur said, he will work to build a grass-roots campaign organization and emphasize issues he thinks are of importance to voters, such as developing a plan to get out of Iraq, reducing health care costs, shoring up the economy and curtailing deficits.
Bengur said he believes he will be able to offer an unusual perspective on Iraq because his son, Noah, is a Marine lieutenant flying fighter jet missions there.
No Republicans have announced interest in running for the seat, which Cardin is leaving to run for the U.S. Senate, but several prominent Democrats have.
Former Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Peter L. Beilenson, Anne Arundel County Councilman Bill D. Burlison, state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, Del. Neil F. Quinter and attorney John P. Sarbanes have all declared for the seat. Del. Jon S. Cardin, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens and her long-time lobbyist Kevin O'Keeffe have said they are interested.
Bengur, a divorced father of three, graduated from Princeton and earned a master's degree from Cambridge University in England.