- The Washington Times - Friday, September 15, 2006

Kweisi Mfume yesterday officially conceded Maryland’s Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, but it was not clear whether he planned to campaign for Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin in the general election contest against Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, the Republican nominee.

“Ben and I gave this race our best,” said Mr. Mfume, past president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and a former congressman. “However, there can only be one nominee from our party, and he is it.

“He is a great public servant and I have absolutely no doubt that he is going to make a terrific United States senator. He has my full support,” Mr. Mfume said.

Mr. Cardin spoke with Mr. Mfume on the phone minutes before a Democratic rally in Annapolis, an Mfume spokesman said.

“This was a very positive, hard campaign,” Mr. Cardin said after the rally. “Kweisi and I continue our friendship. … I’m proud to have his support.”

Mr. Cardin said that he expects Mr. Mfume to campaign with him.

“I am confident that we will be together during the campaign,” Mr. Cardin said.

According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, Mr. Cardin received 247,617 votes, or 43.8 percent, and Mr. Mfume 228,721, or 40.4 percent, in Tuesday’s primary. Eighteen Democrats were seeking the nomination to replace retiring Democratic Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.

About 25 precincts in Baltimore had not had their votes counted as of yesterday, and 26,000 absentee ballots, along with an unknown number of provisional ballots, also had not yet been counted.

Mr. Mfume, who waited until after 2 a.m. Wednesday to end his primary party without then conceding, said that he had spoken with elections officials yesterday morning and decided to concede.

“We have looked at every set of remaining numbers. It is clear that while the gap may narrow, the vote totals will fall short of what will be needed to win,” Mr. Mfume said.

In an unrelated matter, the Cardin campaign fired a female campaign staffer yesterday after discovering a Web log she had been writing about the campaign.

Titled “Road Diaries of the Persuasionatrix,” the blog talked about taking a picture of Cardin staffers eating Oreos with the caption “devouring the competition.”

“Oreo” can be used as a derogatory term for blacks who “act or think white.” Mr. Steele is the first black to win a statewide office in Maryland.

A Cardin spokesman said that the staffer was fired as soon as the blog was discovered.

“We became aware of this blog today,” said Oren Shur, Mr. Cardin’s spokesman. “We utterly condemn the sentiments expressed in it. It is not an accurate reflection of Ben Cardin or his campaign. The junior staffer responsible for the contents of this blog is no longer employed by the campaign.”

Mr. Shur did not confirm the name of the blogger.

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