- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 8, 2006

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin earned endorsements from fellow Democrats in Western Maryland in his quest for the U.S. Senate.

The support came from former Maryland House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. of Allegany County, Delegate Galen R. Clagett of Frederick County and Delegate John P. Donoghue of Washington County.

“Ben Cardin is a leader who puts principles over politics to get results for Maryland,” said Mr. Taylor, who lost his state House seat in 2002. “He’s an expert in Congress on issues like health care and Social Security, but what really sets Ben Cardin apart in my mind is the integrity with which he leads. I’ll be proud to call him my senator.”

Mr. Cardin said his campaign was “about reaching out to all of Maryland’s communities,” which might explain his campaign swing through the Republican stronghold of Western Maryland.

“I believe the people of Frederick and Western Maryland will support my commitment to fight for affordable health care, more good-paying jobs and better schools for our children,” he said.

Mr. Cardin is competing with former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leader Kweisi Mfume and several other Democrats in the primary race.

The victor likely will face the Senate race’s Republican front-runner, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele.

Mr. Clagett said the congressman had “the unique ability to bring people together to solve problems … .”

“Whether it’s congestion on our roads or standing up for our veterans, Ben has a tremendous track record of putting the needs of Marylanders first,” he said.

Mr. Donoghue touted Mr. Cardin’s belief that “quality health care should be a right and not a privilege.”

Mr. Cardin also received endorsements from Brunswick Mayor Carroll Jones and Hagerstown City Council member Lewis C. Metzner, both Democrats.

Another contender

Baltimore landlord A. Robert Kaufman, 74, filed his papers last week, confirming his earlier announced plans to become a candidate for U.S. Senate.

Mr. Kaufman is an avowed socialist and a perennial candidate for political offices. But he is still battling the effects of an attack last summer by an angry tenant.

He needed a walker last Tuesday to enter the board of elections office to pay his filing fee.

He joins a crowded field of Democrats running in the Senate primary.

They include former National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leader Kweisi Mfume and U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin.

New secretaries

Virginia Gov.-elect Timothy M. Kaine announced last week that he has chosen Thomas Morris — the president of Emory and Henry College — as his secretary of education.

The education secretary is one of the most important appointments for Mr. Kaine, who aims to establish a program to teach pre-kindergarten students to read. The appointment also completes his Cabinet.

Mr. Kaine will be sworn in as governor Saturday.

A noted political analyst and commentator, Mr. Morris, 61, is a native of Galax, Va., and has degrees from Virginia Military Institute and the University of Virginia. He has been president of Emory and Henry since 1992 and is also a professor of political science there.

Before going to the Southwestern Virginia school, Mr. Morris was a professor at the University of Richmond.

No thanks to DeLay

U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis of Virginia said last week that she will give to charity $10,000 she received in donations from a political action committee started by former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay.

The Republican said she is donating the money she received in 2000 and 2001 to avoid an appearance of impropriety.

Mrs. Davis said her decision to give the money to charity does not mean she is prejudging her fellow Republican, who is facing a money-laundering indictment. She said she wants to protect her reputation.

Mr. DeLay’s Americans for a Republican Majority has worked to help Republicans win seats in Congress.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. George Allen said yesterday that the Virginia Republican also will donate $1,000 that his campaign received last year in 2005 from a top aide to Mr. DeLay, along with donations of $4,000 connected to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his clients.

Moving on

Two-term Alexandria City Council member Joyce Woodson has announced that she will not seek re-election to a third term.

Mrs. Woodson, a popular and outspoken council member, has enjoyed wide support from the electorate and was expected to win a third term easily.

However, she stated, “I was unable to identify a campaign manager to lead the team this year.”

Mrs. Woodson, a Democrat, went on to say, “I could not be the campaign manager and a successful candidate at the same time.”

Mrs. Woodson attributed the shortage of campaign volunteers to the large number of new City Council candidates and to changing demographics in Alexandria.

Mrs. Woodson is known for being outspoken and frank in her approach to politics. She has been a strong proponent for affordable housing, public education and smart growth and could be counted on to ask the difficult questions others might have been reluctant to pose.

Fond farewell

Outgoing Frederick Mayor Jennifer P. Dougherty got a warm send-off last week.

Miss Dougherty, a Democrat who served as chairman at her last meeting of the Board of Aldermen last week, heard some praise from members of the public.

Resident Jolene Hart said Miss Dougherty’s legacy will be the revitalization of the Golden Mile, strengthening the police force and management of the city’s water supplies during the drought.

For her part, Miss Dougherty told the aldermen they should be proud of their accomplishments over the past four years — including the Golden Mile tax credit and the development along Carroll Creek.

Mayor-elect Jeff Holtzinger, a Republican, and three new aldermen take office in a ceremony Thursday.

New commissioner

Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has chosen an industry executive to be Maryland’s new state insurance commissioner.

The governor announced the appointment of R. Steven Orr Friday. He replaces Alfred W. Redmer Jr., who resigned in October to become chief executive officer of Coventry Health Care, a Delaware-based health insurance company.

Mr. Orr, 53, most recently served as senior vice president and chief information officer for the Universal Underwriters Group, which specializes in insurance for companies that sell and service motor vehicles.

From 1992 to 2000, he worked in businesses specializing in project management and information-technology systems. Mr. Orr also has experience in commercial banking.

Mr. Orr is a Wake Forest University graduate and earned an master’s of business administration from the University of Virginia. He and his wife, Michelle, have two adult children.

• S.A. Miller and Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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