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Another Shot at Democratic Unity

Pretty much everyone who was anyone in Maryland state Democratic politics made his or her way to the banquet hall at the Camelot of Upper Marlboro in Prince George's for the county party's unity breakfast yesterday.

Among the big names who addressed the several hundred attendees: Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, running for senate, Gubernatorial nominee Mayor Martin O'Malley, Lt. Gov. nominee Del. Anthony G. Brown, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Rep. Albert R. Wynn, and County Executive Jack B. Johnson.

Among others in the audience: Just about every local delegate, senator and member of county council along with those who want to be delegates, senators or county council members. This same event was canceled shortly after the Sept. 12 primary election because of the lack of, well, unity.

But Dems were eager to show they had put the election behind them and are now raring for a big November win. Many said they knew Prince George's ("The heartland of Democratic country," in the words of retiring Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes) would be especially critical, particularly in the Cardin/Michael Steele senate match-up.

Unity was perhaps best on display between formal rivals for the party's nomination for Attorney General, Stuart O. Simms and Douglas F. Gansler.

"There are no hard feelings, because there are larger issues at stake," said Simms, who came in from Baltimore to introduce the man who defeated him.

"Stu Simms is not done -- he'll be back in public service, and that's a great thing for Maryland," said Gansler about Simms.

But don't let their good humor fool you. "Can you feel the unity in the air?" said more than one politico sliding along the back wall. And, yes, there was sarcasm in the question.

One losing candidate for a local office noted wryly that the eggs tasted no better today than they would have just days after the election, when this same event was canceled.

The room was full of party members who had backed executive candidate Rushern L. Baker III over Johnson or Attorney Donna Edwards over Wynn. Neither former candidate attended. Retiring state senator and on-again, off-again School Board candidate Gloria G. Lawlah addressed the crowd. Newly nominated C. Anthony Muse, who is replacing her in the state Senate, did not.

But generally, party members said the event was a good chance to get together and there was widespread enthusiasm about the party's chances.

"Anthony Brown and I are going to do everything we can to make sure the next four years are the best four years for Prince George's County and the state of Maryland!" announced gubernatorial nominee O'Malley.

Rosalind Helderman

By Phyllis Jordan  |  October 10, 2006; 10:19 AM ET
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decided to show up.

Posted by: Good to see Wynn | October 10, 2006 11:53 AM | Report abuse

It's so nice that a month after the primary the Democrats finally have some unity.

Posted by: MK | October 10, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

And the leadership still pretends they have the support of the rank-and-file voters. Comical, really.

Posted by: Rufus | October 10, 2006 3:04 PM | Report abuse

There is a big reason why the Democrats are struggling for unity in Maryland: their candidates are lukewarm at best, and do not offer any hope for real change. That Mfume came so close to upsetting the party leadership's "Chosen One" (Ben Cardin) with a fraction of the resources is a clear sign that the Democrats have a knack for running the wrong folks. PG County will be the key, of course. More due to the powerfully relevant campaign of independent Kevin Zeese than anything else.

Posted by: John Low | October 11, 2006 10:51 AM | Report abuse

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