House of Representatives


Maryland Votes 2006

September 10, 2006

Today, The Sun concludes its endorsements for the Sept. 12 primary election with races for the U.S. Congress.

First District: Three Democrats are competing for the chance to face eight-term Republican Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest in this district that embraces the Eastern Shore. The standout is Jim Corwin, a family doctor and political newcomer promoting themes common to this year's campaign: health care financing reform, a space-race type of commitment to energy independence, and a more aggressive regional approach to cleaning up the bay. Mr. Corwin gets The Sun's endorsement.

Second District: Democrat C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, now completing his second term in Congress and burrowing into his work on the House Intelligence Committee, is facing only token opposition from a single opponent in his party primary. He should get the nomination.

But three Republicans have taken up the challenge of trying to oust the former county executive from this relatively conservative Baltimore County district. Among the Republicans, longtime anti-tax advocate Dee Hodges seems best suited to engage the incumbent in what she calls a "competitive race of ideas," and she is our choice. She urges loosening state controls of health insurance so Marylanders could buy cheaper out-of-state plans subject to fewer mandated benefits, and she would do away with the "earmark" pork barrel spending.

Third District: Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin's decision to pursue a Senate bid has left this sprawling district, which zigzags through Baltimore and three counties, with the rare opportunity of an open House seat.

Among the particularly rich field on the Democratic ballot, the best choice is state Sen. Paula C. Hollinger, who offers local experience, issue expertise, legislative effectiveness and a record of constituent service sure to be repeated in Washington.

During 28 years in the General Assembly, Ms. Hollinger rose to the ranks of chairwoman of the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, where she is a leading voice on those issues. Her more recent accomplishments include enactment of a measure to provide state money for embryonic stem cell research.

In the 435-member House of Representatives, freshmen who come from state legislatures tend to adapt more quickly, and Ms. Hollinger already has contacts in both parties with whom she plans to form alliances.

But for Ms. Hollinger's broader r?sum?, at least two of her competitors would shine in this race: Dr. Peter Beilenson, a former Baltimore health commissioner, and John P. Sarbanes, a lawyer representing health care providers and the son of retiring U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

On the Republican ballot, the most appealing of several good choices for the district is Eugenia Korsak Ordynsky, an immigration lawyer from Columbia who would bring to Congress some much-needed practical insight on that often emotional issue. Ms. Ordynsky also offers herself as an old-fashioned, Main Street Republican, with a moderate approach to issues such as energy conservation and mass transit too rare in today's House Republican caucus.

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