- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 9, 2006

FLINTSTONE, Md. — The results of a straw poll Saturday among Democratic candidates in the September primaries showed Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley winning the party’s nomination for governor over Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan. The poll was part of the Western Maryland Democratic Summit at Rocky Gap Lodge and Golf Resort and attempted to gauge the opinions of party loyalists before the elections.

Mr. O’Malley received 108 votes, Mr. Duncan 52.

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin took first in the Senate race that has at least seven candidates seeking to replace Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, a Democrat who is retiring after serving five terms.

Mr. Cardin received 58 votes. American University professor Allan J. Lichtman of Montgomery County received 39 votes. Kweisi Mfume, a former congressman representing Baltimore and former president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, came in third with 38.

The winner likely will face Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican, in the November general election.

The Democratic candidate for governor will face Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican, in his re-election bid.

However, the results were far from a reliable predictor of whom voters will pick in the Democratic primary. Anyone who paid $40 to register for the summit could vote, and many of the voters were campaign staffers.

The daylong event was sponsored by the Western Maryland Democratic Caucus.

Caucus members said the goal was to bring candidates to a corner of the state that is often forgotten by Democrats as they fight for votes in the heavily Democratic Baltimore-Washington corridor.

Even those who are not officially running were invited to speak.

Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., who has not said whether he will run again, spoke alongside potential but undeclared rivals Montgomery County State’s Attorney Douglas F. Gansler and Montgomery County Council member Thomas E. Perez.

Mr. Gansler has said he will wait for Mr. Curran to make his decision. Mr. Perez said he would run only if Mr. Curran retires.

Mr. Curran won the straw poll with 68 votes. Mr. Gansler received 45 votes, and Mr. Perez received 40. Delegate Peter Franchot, Montgomery Democrat, got 154 votes for state comptroller.

The incumbent, William Donald Schaefer, did not appear Saturday and received six votes.

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