Cardin finds support among black clergy

Democratic Senate candidate speaks in rival Mfume's former congressional district

November 16, 2005|By DAVID NITKIN | DAVID NITKIN,SUN REPORTER

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin ventured into rival Kweisi Mfume's former congressional district yesterday, saying the federal government should do more to help churches and other faith institutions improve housing, provide job training and offer day care.

"We hear from Washington about helping faith-based communities, then they cut the money," Cardin told a gathering of pastors at Macedonia Baptist Church on West Lafayette Street, where his Senate candidacy was endorsed by several city clergy members.

"I'm going to bring back more programs to help the people of the community. That's my priority," said Cardin, who is running against Mfume and several other candidates for the Democratic nomination for the seat held by departing Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

The Rev. Marvis May, pastor of Macedonia and host of the event, said he liked Mfume but thought Cardin's position on issues such as health care and housing were better.

"Do I love Kweisi? Yes," May said. "This has nothing to do with race or color. This has to do with my own personal conviction."

Also endorsing Cardin yesterday were the Rev. Bowyer G. Freeman of New St. Mark Baptist Church; the Rev. Samuel A. Blow of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church; and the Rev. Tyrell Brown of Hebron Baptist Church.

The endorsements supplement the many early pledges of support Cardin has collected, with the primary still 10 months away.

Mfume has accused party leaders of working to make sure Cardin is the nominee, but the former head of the NAACP and former Baltimore congressman has said he is in the race for good.

"Endorsements are part of campaigning. He'll get some, and we'll get some," said Dan Walter, an adviser to the Mfume campaign.

While Cardin may hope to gain votes in Mfume's home territory, a poll for The Sun this month showed that Mfume held a 63-15 percent lead among likely African-American primary voters.

The poll had Cardin and Mfume virtually tied overall, with more than one in three primary voters undecided. Other candidates had minimal support.

"The Mfume campaign is confident that ultimately his base is solid, and he'll get the majority of those votes," Walter said.david.nitkin@baltsun.com

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