- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 1, 2006

Rep. Albert R. Wynn was scheduled to appear last Wednesday with Mary-land Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele in a nonpolitical event, Mr. Steele’s staff said.

But with Mr. Steele running for the U.S. Senate in an election less than six weeks away, the appearance would have been nonpolitical in name only.

Mr. Steele is a black Republican, running against Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a 10-term congressman, who is white. Mr. Wynn is a black Democrat who endorsed Mr. Cardin’s opponent in the primary, Kweisi Mfume.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, however, Mr. Wynn attended a rally for Mr. Cardin, where U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Democrat, and Mr. Mfume spoke in his support.

Mr. Wynn’s appearance with Mr. Steele was therefore intriguing. The premise was that they would tour areas around Metro stations in Prince George’s County with Lurita A. Doan, U.S. General Services Administration administrator, to lobby for federal agencies to locate offices there and anchor future development.

The Washington Times caught up with the group of officials at their second stop in Seat Pleasant. But although Mr. Steele and Mrs. Doan were there, along with representatives from House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, and others, Mr. Wynn was nowhere to be found.

Mr. Steele’s staff said Mr. Wynn had come to the Branch Avenue Metro stop for about five minutes, but left soon after, saying he had to go vote on Capitol Hill.

Later in the day, however, Mr. Wynn’s Capitol Hill spokesman, Alon Kupferman, denied that Mr. Wynn had ever been present at any event with Mr. Steele.

“He was not there,” Mr. Kupferman said. “He went to the Ben Cardin rally, and after that he went to the Hill.”

“We had an invitation, but we did not attend,” Mr. Kupferman said. “The congressman is fully supporting Ben Cardin.”

• Switcheroo

Will Cobb, until recently a Democrat running for the D.C. Council from Ward 6, is best known around the city for forgetting to turn in his petitions to land a spot on the Democratic primary ballot last month.

In an effort to revive his bid for the council seat, Mr. Cobb has reregistered as an independent, turned in his petitions and will be on the ballot for the November general election.

Mr. Cobb is one of only a few candidates still visibly on the campaign trail. Because the majority of D.C. residents are registered Democrats, the winner of the Democratic primary usually also wins the general election. Most candi-dates finished the majority of their campaigning immediately before last month’s election.

But Mr. Cobb hopes to give Tommy Wells, winner of the Democratic primary, a run for his money come November. He is busy campaigning at Metro stops and was seen Wednesday morning soliciting voters with Leo Pinson, who ran against Mr. Wells in the primary.

“Ward 6 is undergoing a competitive election for November 7,” Mr. Cobb said. “My campaign is steadily gaining ground.”

Mr. Cobb’s signs — the same ones he used while campaigning as a Democrat — can still be seen in Ward 6. Signs passed out after the party switch do bear one small change: a discreet white strip of duct tape covers the word “Democrat” to help voters forget the embarrassing petition incident.

• Getting tested

D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton arranged for a mobile HIV/AIDS testing clinic to make a stop behind the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill last week.

Mrs. Norton and 15 other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose names were not released, were tested for HIV/AIDS at the event, meant to raise HIV awareness. The tests took about 20 minutes, and Mrs. Norton’s came back negative. The other members’ results were not released.

The District has the highest AIDS rate per capita in the country.

• ‘Gender’ politics

Marion Barry and David A. Catania may be the D.C. Council’s new, self-proclaimed “odd couple” — but not, according to Mr. Barry, because they are of different genders.

Mr. Barry and Mr. Catania, who is openly homosexual and running for re-election, worked together over the summer on a sweeping health care bill introduced last week.

“This is a historic moment for us,” Mr. Barry, Ward 8 Democrat, said at a press conference. “David Catania and I are the odd couple on the council. Nobody ever expected us to ever work together, because of our gender.”

After the audience erupted in laughter and Mr. Catania, at-large independent, turned a bright shade of red, Mr. Barry realized his faux pas.

“No, no, our gender is the same,” Mr. Barry said while laughing. “I got carried away there.”

• Favorite son

The people of Manassas soon will have a new way to honor one of their favorite political sons.

The U.S. House on Monday unanimously approved a measure renaming a post office on Sudley Road for Delegate Harry J. Parrish, who died March 28 at 84.

“He was a true Virginia gentleman in the truest sense of the word,” said Rep. Frank R. Wolf, Virginia Republican.

Sen. George Allen sponsored the measure as a “fitting tribute to such a great leader,” said a spokesman for the Virginia Republican. The measure already passed the Senate unanimously.

“He was a friend of ours, but he was a friend of Northern Virginia,” said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III, Virginia Republican.

Mr. Parrish was a former fighter pilot and small-business owner. Most recently the chairman of the House Finance Committee, the Republican was known for his bipartisanship and civil manner.

Before winning election as the delegate from Manassas in 1982, he served 18 years as mayor of Manassas after serving 12 years on the Town Council.

Mr. Parrish transformed the sleepy small town into a “thriving, lively suburb,” Mr. Wolf said. Naming a post office for him will serve as “an appro-priate reminder of Harry’s dedication to public service.”

• Helping hands

New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton joined a parade of nationally prominent Democratic officials coming into Maryland last week for an event last Monday in Adelphi to raise money for the state Democratic Party and help whip up enthusiasm for the Nov. 7 general election.

“It’s not a big-dollar fundraiser,” David Paulson, spokesman for the Maryland Democratic Party, said.

The party also wanted Mrs. Clinton to bolster the campaigns for statewide candidates, including gubernatorial nominee Martin O’Malley and U.S. Senate nominee Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, he said.

Mr. Paulson would not give a firm figure, but said Democrats met their goal of raising $75,000 to $100,000 for the party.

Mrs. Clinton had the crowd clapping and cheering with her appeals on behalf of Mr. Cardin and Mr. O’Malley and her criti-cism of Republican senatorial candidate Michael S. Steele.

“You have no idea what he stands for. You have no idea what he will do except what they tell him to do,” she said.

Mr. Cardin also took a few shots at his opponent, saying he and Mr. Steele “have a different set of priorities.”

“Michael Steele will not hold President Bush accountable for the mess he’s made in Iraq. I will,” Mr. Cardin said. “Michael Steele will not hold President Bush accountable for 46 million people without health care. I will.”

Mr. O’Malley did not refer to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. by name, but he drew a big reaction from the crowd when he said his top priority as governor will be “to make government work so when you go to vote Election Day, the polls will be open.”

The biggest reaction during Mrs. Clinton’s talk came when someone in the crowd yelled out for her to run for president, bringing Democrats to their feet.

When the cheers finally died down, she smiled and said, “We’ve got a really important election in November. We’ve got to stay focused on that.”

Mrs. Clinton is part of what state Democratic Party Chairman Terry Lierman called a parade of potential Democratic presidential candidates coming to Maryland. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama also were in Prince George’s County last week. Former Gov. Mark Warner of Virginia, Delaware Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry also have been in to help candidates.

On the Republican side, the list includes Mr. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Arizona Sen. John McCain.

This is a big change for a state accustomed to being ignored by both parties in national elections because Democrats routinely won elections by huge margins.

But with Republicans more competitive, Maryland is now considered more of a battleground state.

“We’re not used to being an important state. We are now,” Mr. Cardin said.

• Sunny side up

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, last week introduced the Increased Consumer Information for the Sale of Eggs Act of 2006.

This bill would require stores selling eggs in the city to alert consumers if the eggs are laid by caged hens.

Keeping laying hens caged has been deemed inhumane by the Humane Society of the United States.

If passed, the bill would be the first of its kind in the country.

“A lot of communities are considering these types of measures,” Mr. Graham said. “The reason I introduced it is an effort to raise consciousness about the problems associated with factory farming. The whole point of the bill is to provide consumers information so they can make a choice.”

The bill does not have any co-sponsors.

• Jon Ward, Amy Doolittle and Christina Bellantoni contributed to this column, which is based in part on wire service reports.

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