Cardin Campaign Swings South

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 3, 2006

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) made a three-stop tour through Southern Maryland over the weekend in an effort to shore up support among voters here for his U.S. Senate bid.

Cardin and his wife, Myrna, attended services Sunday morning at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Huntingtown, held an afternoon meet-and-greet with union members in Mechanicsville and later met with members of the Charles County African American Caucus at the Lifestyles of Maryland center in La Plata.

The visit with black leaders in Southern Maryland could help Cardin, who is white, garner support within the African American community in a contest in which his closest Democratic primary opponent, former congressman and former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume, and the leading Republican candidate, Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, are both black.

Candidates for statewide office have made several stops in Southern Maryland this summer. On July 21, Steele, Mfume and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) attended a scholarship gala for the Ministers Alliance of Charles County and Vicinity. (Although Cardin did not attend, representatives of his campaign were present.) One week before that, on July 14, Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, held a news conference in Waldorf to pick up the endorsements of more than two dozen Southern Maryland elected officials.

Today, Ehrlich and several cabinet secretaries are scheduled to make four stops in Southern Maryland. They plan to discuss education initiatives at a new elementary school in Great Mills; talk about affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and military affairs in Lexington Park; announce state funding awards to local governments and organizations in Leonardtown; and highlight park renovations and environmental upgrades at the recently reopened Calvert Cliffs State Park in Lusby.

Miller vs. Miller

Ron Miller, the Republican technology consultant and former Bush administration official running to unseat state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D) in his Calvert and Prince George's district, officially kicked off his campaign last week.

With Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) at his side, Ron Miller said Marylanders need a fresh face in Annapolis to replace Mike Miller, a 36-year veteran of the Senate and its longest serving president.

"Friends, the days of the backroom politician with no regard for his district are over," Ron Miller said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. "It's not his government, it's ours, and we're here to take it back."

Ron Miller pledged to help working families by boosting education and attracting high-paying jobs.

"I have a vision of a government that works for Maryland families, a government that helps create good-paying jobs and promotes home and small-business ownership, allows us to keep more of our hard-earned money, educates our children for the Internet age, keeps our families safe and provides improved transit opportunities for our commuter workforce," Miller said, according to the prepared remarks.

For Ron Miller, 44, this election looks to be an uphill battle. Mike Miller is one of the state's most powerful politicians and most effective fundraisers. Just days before the filing deadline, Ehrlich personally recruited Ron Miller to enter the race, leading him to drop his challenge of U.S. Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D) in the 5th Congressional District.

Parkway Groundbreaking

Charles County elected officials, along with representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, joined executives from American Community Properties Trust at a groundbreaking last week marking the beginning of the extension of St. Charles Parkway.

The project, being constructed by ACPT, the developer of the St. Charles planned community, will extend the roadway over two miles, from its current terminus at White Plains Park south to the intersection of Radio Station and Rosewick roads. The Charles County government is constructing the roadway from that point to Route 301 in La Plata.

The road extension will provide significant "traffic relief in Charles County," Edwin L. Kelly, president and chief operating officer of ACPT, said in a statement. "The existing parkway, Smallwood Drive, St. Patrick's Drive, Post Office Road and Billingsley Road in St. Charles were all built with the idea of providing a major roadway system that serves residents inside and outside our communities."

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