Ex-TV reporter Barth joins race for seat in Congress


Baltimore & Region


Former WMAR-TV news reporter Andy Barth made official his bid for the U.S. Congress yesterday, emphasizing his desire to strengthen Social Security and pensions and withdraw troops from Iraq.

The latest entry in the Democratic primary for the 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, Barth has not held an elected or appointed office, but he said his 35 years as a reporter have given him an unequaled sense of his prospective constituents.

"Politicians sometimes say `I'm going to do a listening and learning tour' when they start out. Mine's been 35 years," Barth said. "I've gotten to know the people of the district and the problems and concerns of the district, which I've reported impartially. Now instead of pointing out problems, I'd like to solve some."

Barth's name recognition in the Baltimore television market could give him an advantage over his rivals. The district, redrawn in 2002, includes parts of Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties, leaving no candidate in the crowded field with a political base that extends to all its boundaries.

Six other Democrats are already in the race: attorney and retired Army officer Mishonda M. Baldwin; former Baltimore City Health Commissioner Peter L. Beilenson; businessman Oz Bengur; state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger; former top-level aide to the governments in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel County Kevin O'Keeffe; and attorney John P. Sarbanes.

No Republicans have expressed interest in the seat.

Barth said he will work to make sure companies and the federal government keep their promises to provide pension, health and Social Security benefits to retirees.

He also said he believes there was never an adequate reason for invading Iraq and wants a "planned, orderly, but prompt withdrawal" of troops.


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