- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2006

BALTIMORE — Gubernatorial candidate Douglas M. Duncan yesterday introduced his running mate, Stuart O. Simms, inside a Baptist church on the city’s crime-ridden West Side, just blocks away from the prospective lieutenant governor’s childhood home.

“I heard a lot of talk about what was taking so long with this pick,” said Mr. Duncan, Montgomery County executive and a Democrat. “But I’ve got to say, he who picks first does not always pick best.”

Mr. Simms, a former state corrections chief and former Baltimore state’s attorney, stepped forward to say he was reluctant at first to join Mr. Duncan’s campaign.

“But this was Doug Duncan,” said Mr. Simms, 55, who played football while at Dartmouth University and later graduated from Harvard Law School.

Mr. Simms called Mr. Duncan, 50, “a man who puts purpose over style.”

It was a refrain used countless times in countless ways during the campaign stops here and in Prince George’s County, at Largo Town Center.

The message is a jab at Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley — who leads the Democratic primary for governor in both fundraising and polls — and his running mate, Delegate Anthony G. Brown of Prince George’s County.

Both Mr. O’Malley, 43, and Mr. Brown, 44, are seen by some as rising political stars and by others as outrageous self-promoters.

The numerous speeches at the Duncan campaign’s two events hammered home a point that Mr. Duncan and his supporters hope to make all summer: The youthful image of Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Brown can be turned into a liability.

“We stand on substance and not style. … Lord, let us be about substance that can bring hope in a time of despair,” prayed the Rev. John Wright, of First Baptist Church of Guilford in Columbia, Md.

“We need to decide whether boyish good looks will be the main criterion for our next governor, or whether we need character,” said Sen. Delores G. Kelley, Baltimore County Democrat.

Mr. O’Malley declined to address the issue, but released a one-line statement through a spokesman.

“We welcome Mr. Simms to what we hope will be a positive dialogue about the issues affecting Maryland’s families,” Mr. O”Malley said.

Both Mr. Simms and Mr. Brown are black. Democrats are trying to regain ground with Maryland’s black voting constituency after Michael. S. Steele became the first black person elected to statewide office in 2002, as a Republican, to serve as lieutenant governor with Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Mr. Steele now is running for the U.S. Senate.

Mr. Ehrlich has not said when he plans to announce a running mate in his re-election bid, but former Prince George’s County Executive Wayne K. Curry, who also is black, has been mentioned.

Mr. Simms was appointed Baltimore state’s attorney in 1987 and served two terms, and then was appointed the state corrections chief by Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a Democrat, in 1997.

He said his father, a steelworker, and mother, a public school teacher, taught him about hard work and helping others.

Mr. Duncan said Mr. Simms “kept his focus on helping people, not just helping his own career.”

Mr. Simms is close to former Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who endorsed Mr. Duncan six months ago. Some in the audience yesterday said Mr. Simms’ addition will further energize the “Schmoke [political] machine.”

Mr. Schmoke, now dean of Howard University School of Law, said the political machinery in place during his tenure running the city “will be mobilized this summer” to help elect Mr. Duncan.

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