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March 5, 2004

Election Reflections

John P. Snyder

In last week's article I predicted a Roscoe Bartlett win by a 60-40 margin over Scott Rolle. Tempting as it is to proclaim myself the local version of John Zogby or George Gallup, noted pollsters both, the truth is that the 60-40 tilt was good in Frederick county only. Every place else it was roughly 70-30. Oy!

I happen to like and admire both men. It was a good thing for Mr. Rolle to get into the race, if only because voters in the 6th district got to view an energized Congressman Bartlett. He was pushed, relatively, in a way we haven't seen since he squared off against Tom Hattery in 1992.

And although he was swamped, Mr. Rolle can take some satisfaction in that the Bartlett campaign thought enough of him to roll out the heavy artillery. Most Republicans saw no need to retire the reliable Mr. Bartlett, even though they think highly of Mr. Rolle.

Left unsaid during this whole process was what Roscoe was thinking when he authorized that putrid piece of direct mail that accused Scott Rolle of letting child molesters go free. The case in questions involved the fellow in Braddock Heights who quickly left the country about eight years ago. That mailer was unnecessary and uncalled for. It was a payoff to the Mooney camp, allowing Alex's brother Pat Mooney, who runs a campaign consulting firm, to pocket a little walking around money.

Dr. Bartlett can call off the dogs for his general election opponent, a chap named Ken Bosely from Baltimore County. Disappointed local Democrats regret Rodney Fox's lost. Mr. Bosely took on then Congressman Bob Ehrlich back in 2000 and got shellacked. The same fate awaits him four years later.

It was a rare and heartening show of bipartisanship in these parts that delivered Judge Terry Adams to a 15-year term on the Circuit Court bench over Lennie Thompson. The 80-20 split confirmed what many observers felt all along. Mr. Thompson's appeal is limited to blood relatives, assorted friends and those who don't know him well. Is it too early to predict a federal bench nomination for Judge Adams?

Anyone who takes on our overrated Senate loudmouth Babs Mikulksi gets my vote. Best wishes to E. J. Pipkin, who gets the job of trying to knock her off. Don't be surprised if the diminutive '60s has been gets a good race from Mr. Pipkin.

Maryland Democrats joined their brethren nationally by endorsing John Kerry for President. Why do they like him? His stand on the issues? His plans for the future? His appealing personality?

Well, no. They figure he has the best chance of defeating George Bush in November. The national media won't tell them what they need to know about the junior senator from Massachusetts. Happily, the Bush campaign has the necessary funds to get the word out.

Recently, a nonpartisan magazine rated Mr. Kerry as the most liberal in the Senate. Quite a chore when you consider he has to compete with the likes of Ted Kennedy and both of Maryland's two liberal senators, Paul Sarbanes and Ms. Mikulski, for the honor. When a reporter for The New York Times, Elizabeth Buhlmiller, asked him to confirm his liberal status, he refused to do so, calling such labels "silly." This will not stop him from referring to" extreme right wingers" and "radical right wing extremists" when referring to Republicans.

By September it is entirely possible that Mr. Kerry's candidacy has the look and feel of, take your pick, the candidacy of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, Fritz Mondale or Mike Dukakis.

But it's only March. When is opening day?

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