- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 19, 2005

If Fairfax County voters choose Chris Craddock in November for the 67th District seat in the House of Delegates, he would become the youngest delegate in Richmond.

Mr. Craddock, 26, upset Delegate Gary Alan Reese, 60, in Tuesday’s Republican primary with about two-thirds of the vote. He is a youth minister and soccer coach.

The youngest delegate currently is Jeffrey M. Frederick, 29.

Mr. Frederick, Prince William County Republican, who backs Mr. Craddock, said he would be glad to be rid of the title.

“Thank goodness,” he said. “It is an honor being the youngest elected person in state office … but, frankly, there’s more to what I’m about than being the youngest delegate, especially since Thomas Jefferson was years younger than me when he served in the Virginia General Assembly.”

Mr. Craddock laughed when asked about becoming the House’s youngest member.

“I told Jeff that now there’s two of us down there who will be called the young ones in the General Assembly,” he said. “Now I will get to have fun with that, too.”

• Legal debate

Virginia’s candidates for attorney general clashed over social issues and taxes Saturday during the first debate of the general election campaign for any of the six statewide candidates.

Delegate Robert F. McDonnell, Virginia Beach Republican, said he opposes government funding of embryonic stem-cell research and believes the government sometimes must intervene in end-of-life decisions such as the Terri Schiavo case in Florida and the Hugh Finn case in Virginia in 1998.

“It’s my view that we ought to always err on the side of life,” Mr. McDonnell said at the debate, sponsored by the Young Lawyers Conference of the Virginia State Bar in Virginia Beach. “The state does have a role in protecting human life.”

State Sen. Robert Creigh Deeds, Bath County Democrat, disagreed, calling the decision of whether to allow a person in a persistent vegetative state to die “the most personal, private” issue a family can face.

“Politicians, in my view, have no role here,” Mr. Deeds said.

• Second thoughts

Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest, Maryland Republican, voted for the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on homosexuals in the military in 1993. Now he rejects the policy.

The original vote conflicted Mr. Gilchrest, whose brother is homosexual. Mr. Gilchrest didn’t believe the lifestyle was unsavory.

But he also listened to House conservatives who warned that allowing homosexuals to serve in close quarters would create conflict in the ranks.

Mr. Gilchrest, along with 301 others, took what he now says was probably the easy route and ratified the policy.

Now he has broken ranks and joined congressional Democrats in seeking to lift the ban.

The former Marine sergeant calls the policy a failure that costs taxpayers millions of dollars to enforce and keeps out capable men and women.

• Let’s talk about it

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele says there’s no need to declare today whether he is a candidate for the U.S. Senate.

But Mr. Steele sounded like a candidate on WUSA-TV (Channel 9) last week, saying he hopes it will be a “fun,” engaging and mentally stimulating campaign.

The Republican has formed an exploratory committee to help him decide whether to run for the seat being vacated by Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes in 2006.

Mr. Steele said he will take the next few months to talk to Marylanders and see where they stand on such issues as the Iraq war and Social Security.

Unlike the Democrats, who may put up several candidates, Mr. Steele said he hopes to have a clear field. Republican leaders have urged him to run, and the Republican nomination seems to be his for the asking.

Asked when he will decide, Mr. Steele said: “As soon as I feel in my gut this is a go, then there will be an announcement.”

• ‘Radical’ ticket

Virginia state Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr. had some harsh words for Republican gubernatorial nominee Jerry W. Kilgore last week.

Mr. Potts, Winchester Republican, who is running for governor as an independent in the Nov. 8 general election, offered his insights on an hourlong program on WTOP Radio.

He accused Mr. Kilgore of leading “the most radical, extreme, far-right ticket ever in the history of Virginia politics.”

Mr. Potts also took some shots at former Gov. James S. Gilmore III, also a Republican. He said he thinks Mr. Gilmore deliberately misled lawmakers about the real cost of his car-tax cut.

Mr. Potts’ Democratic opponent, Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, escaped a tongue-lashing.

But Mr. Potts did claim to be the most centrist candidate in the race, saying the other two “are poles apart” on the ideological spectrum.

• Society’s child

U.S. Senate candidate and social activist A. Robert Kaufman blamed “the society that gave birth” to a “sick individual” after being beaten and stabbed last week in his Baltimore home.

Mr. Kaufman, 74, spoke at his home Thursday evening, shortly after being released from the hospital, where he underwent surgery after he was beaten Monday with a crowbar and stabbed, he said, by a man renting a room in one of several houses he owns.

“For two days, I didn’t even think about politics,” the perennial Democratic candidate said.

Mr. Kaufman had a black eye and several stapled gashes on his head and along his collarbone were clearly visible as he spoke to reporters.

“It’s sad that one person could cause so much pain, but it’s not just one guy,” Mr. Kaufman said of his attacker. “It’s the society that gave birth to him.”

Mr. Kaufman said he will continue his campaign, although he plans to rest for a few weeks.

• In the running

Ronald Young, former mayor of Frederick, Md., has made it official. He’s in the race to reclaim his old office.

He announced his candidacy in front of about 100 supporters last week and pledged to bring civility back to City Hall.

Mr. Young will challenge Democratic incumbent Jennifer Dougherty in a party primary.

Mr. Young was mayor from 1974 to 1990. He had moved outside the city limits, but returned last year.

A court ruling last month ended the city’s three-year residency requirement for mayoral candidates, clearing the way for Mr. Young’s candidacy.

• Gun law

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton joined community activists, business leaders and education officials to oppose efforts on Capitol Hill to repeal the District’s gun ban.

“It is not unlikely that it will come up by surprise,” said Mrs. Norton, a Democrat, in the library of Shaw Junior High School, a venue selected to bring attention to young shooting victims. “We just have to be ready to move in, and do what we have to do.”

Mrs. Norton made her statement one month after House and Senate lawmakers introduced bills to end the ban on most private handgun ownership, which the city has maintained since 1976.

A similar attempt by Congress to invalidate the ban failed last year when the city mobilized against it.

Leaders at Thursday’s press conference said that allowing broader gun ownership in the District would lead to more shootings, and that the city should be allowed to make its own gun laws.

But the ban’s opponents in Congress cite residents’ Second Amendment rights and say the District’s homicide rate is high because residents can’t get guns to protect themselves.

• Family feud

Delaware state prosecutors have dropped felony charges against the mayor of Frederica and his wife, but it’s not clear whether a long-standing feud between the couple and a fellow resident of their Kent County town is over.

Mayor William C. “Chick” Glanden, 50, and his wife, Fay, 44, were charged with reckless endangering earlier this year after separate incidents in which they were accused of threatening to run over Christopher Langley with their vehicles.

The charges stemmed from a lengthy feud between Mr. Glanden and Mr. Langley, which has resulted in six arrests and divided the Kent County town of about 650 residents.

Last month, Mr. Langley, an outspoken critic of the mayor, agreed to drop misdemeanor charges stemming from a Feb. 12 incident, in which the mayor was accused of slapping him.

A few weeks later, misdemeanor charges against Mr. Langley stemming from a trespassing incident at the Frederica Volunteer Fire Co., where Mr. Glanden is an ambulance driver, were thrown out. The decision to drop the felony charges against the Glandens means no charge is pending against either side, but Mr. Glanden indicated that it won’t be easy for him to set aside harsh feelings.

“All these charges, I’m telling you, were [wrong] to start with,” said Mr. Glanden, adding that he has spent about $20,000 in bail bonds and legal fees and that his wife lost her home day care operation after he was hit with the felony charges in April.

Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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