More Considering Entry Into an Ever-Widening Senate Race

By John Wagner and Matthew Mosk
Sunday, August 7, 2005

The field in Maryland's 2006 U.S. Senate race may soon grow wider, more curious and less predictable.

On the Democratic side, the number of candidates could easily double to six by next month. Three Montgomery County residents -- a historian, a psychiatrist and a wealthy businessman -- all say they are on the verge of making decisions about whether to join the fray.

The latest possible entrant is Allan J. Lichtman , an American University historian. Lichtman, who has made a career of commenting upon candidates, last week said he is thinking of becoming one.

"I see an opening here," said Lichtman, whose side gigs include political commentary for CNN and a weekly column for the Gazette newspapers.

Lichtman, who lives in Bethesda, would join a Democratic field that includes former congressman Kweisi Mfume (whose candidacy Lichtman argues has been wounded by allegations of favoritism while leading the NAACP) and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (whom Lichtman argues the Democratic establishment has been too quick to rally around). "I don't believe in inevitability candidates," Lichtman said. "I think that's a bad thing for the country."

Cardin and Mfume both hail from Baltimore, as does A. Robert Kaufman , a self-described socialist and community activist also in the race.

Potomac businessman Joshua Rales , meanwhile, has hired Robin Rorapaugh , a veteran of Florida and Texas politics, as his campaign manager and said he will decide next month whether to proceed with a bid. "Everything is moving forward in a positive direction," Rales wrote in an e-mail last week.

Lise Van Susteren of Bethesda could kick off a campaign about the same time, friends said.

Van Susteren, a forensic psychiatrist and mother of three, has been talking to Tad Devine , a Washington operative whose clients have included John F. Kerry , about getting into the race.

Devine said Van Susteren would enter the race as a "fresh voice" and alternative to candidates who have spent much of their lives in politics.

"She's smart, very well-informed and has had a career outside politics," Devine said. She also has a celebrity sister: Fox News's Greta Van Susteren .

One serious would-be contender for the Senate, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens (D), now seems to be focusing her sights on the 3rd District congressional race.

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