Duncan gets S. Md. backing

Middleton is among the endorsers


Democratic gubernatorial candidate Douglas M. Duncan and his newly announced running mate, Stuart O. Simms, landed endorsements yesterday from a half-dozen Southern Maryland officials, including state Sen. Thomas M. Middleton, a Charles County farmer and chairman of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

Joining Middleton in backing the Democrats, who are trailing rivals Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley and Del. Anthony G. Brown in polls and fundraising, were: Del. Sally Y. Jameson, Del. Murray D. Levy, Del. James E. Proctor Jr., former Calvert County Commissioner Barbara Stinnett and St. Mary's County Commissioner Tom Mattingly.

Though more conservative than other Democratic battlegrounds such as Prince George's County and Baltimore, Southern Maryland can't be ignored during the Democratic primary contest. Middleton is a significant presence in the region, and with his close relationship to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, wields influence in Annapolis. Many believe he is Miller's likely successor, should the Senate president step down.

Duncan, the Montgomery County executive, and O'Malley are vying to run against Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

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