- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 24, 2004

Maryland Democrats, led by Senate President Mike Miller, pulled off a political coup in 2002, when they gerrymandered Republican Rep. Connie Morella out of her 8th Congressional District seat. Mr. Miller and his political associates removed areas of northern Montgomery County that tended to vote Republican while adding Democratic strongholds in Takoma Park and western Prince George’s County. The first beneficiary was Christopher Van Hollen, who won slightly under 52 percent of the vote. Common wisdom has it that Republicans should not bother contesting a district with such a pronounced Democratic bent. But Chuck Floyd, a retired military officer and entrepreneur, wasn’t buying it. So, despite the long political odds against him, Mr. Floyd decided to challenge Mr. Van Hollen.

During his time in the military, Mr. Floyd served as deputy G-4 of the 25th Infantry Division, providing logistical support for the division as it moved through Asia. He was in charge of coordinating war plans and training exercises with governments in South Korea, Japan and Thailand. He also served as deputy commander of U.S. forces overseeing international peacekeepers in the Sinai Peninsula.

After retiring in 1992, Mr. Floyd switched from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, citing the fact that the former had veered too far to the left. After working in the private sector, he served in the State Department before resigning to run against Mr. Van Hollen.

It would be difficult to imagine two more different candidates. Mr. Floyd supported President Bush’s decision to go to war to topple Saddam Hussein. He also is a strong supporter of the president’s tax cuts and advocates giving workers the option of investing part of the money they are currently forced to pay in Social Security taxes in individual savings accounts.

Mr. Van Hollen, by contrast, is one of the most doctrinaire left-liberals in Congress. He is a staunch foe of the tax cuts. Despite substantial increases in education spending since Mr. Bush took office, Mr. Van Hollen routinely excoriates the president for not pouring enough money into education. Few speeches better illustrate Mr. Van Hollen’s bitter-end opposition to the war effort than his statement of opposition to an $87 billion spending package for the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Much like John Kerry, Mr. Van Hollen was against the money for the troops, saying he could not support the bill unless the president agreed to raise taxes.

The people of Maryland’s 8th Congressional District deserve better. The Washington Times urges a vote for Chuck Floyd.

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