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Simms and the "Party Bosses"

They are what U.S. Senate candidate Kweisi Mfume likes to refer to as the Democratic party bosses: Steny Hoyer, the long-serving congressman and House minority whip, and Mike Miller, the even longer serving state Senate president, both of whom carry considerable sway in state politics and fundraising circles.

Yesterday they joined with other Southern Maryland lawmakers to offer their support to one of the party's three candidates for state attorney general: Baltimore attorney Stuart O. Simms. Simms, a former Baltimore prosecutor and cabinet secretary, is running against two better-funded Montgomery County Democrats--prosecutor Doug Gansler and council member Tom Perez--in the Sept. 12 primary.

"It is clear that Stuart Simms is not going to have the kind of money his opponents have," Hoyer said. But "those of us here have known Stuart Simms for years, not just [by] a 30-second ad or a 60-second ad. We endorse Stuart Simms because we know him as a human being, as a lawyer of great competence and as a public servant who has done wonderful things for our state."

Each of the Democrats has picked up his share of endorsements: Gansler from most of the other state's attorneys across Maryland and from Prince George's County leaders: Rep. Al Wynn and County Executive Jack Johnson; Perez from several major labor unions, including those representing Montgomery police and sheriff's deputies.

Hoyer said Sen. Thomas M. Middleton (D-Charles) and Sen. Roy P. Dyson (D-St. Mary's) also have endorsed Simms but were not at the news conference yesterday. Prince George's County State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey was on hand to show his support.

Miller, who represents Prince George's and Calvert counties, called Simms "a role model for everybody" and said he would support Simms financially for the primary, adding: "The check's in the mail, Stu."

Campaign finance reports filed last week showed that Gansler had raised nearly $1.7 million for the race, with $1.4 million still in his war chest. Perez had brought in more than $500,000 and has roughly $330,000 on hand. Simms, who entered late, had raised more than raised more than $218,000 and had $65,800 left to spend.

Phil Rucker

By Phyllis Jordan  |  August 22, 2006; 6:09 AM ET
 
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