Democrats Put on Show of Unity

By Rosalind S. Helderman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 12, 2006

Pretty much everyone who was anyone in Maryland Democratic politics made their way to Camelot of Upper Marlboro for the county party's unity breakfast Monday.

Among those who addressed the several hundred loyalists: U.S. Senate candidate and Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin ; gubernatorial nominee and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley ; lieutenant governor nominee and Del. Anthony G. Brown ; Rep. Steny H. Hoyer ;{scheck} Rep. Albert R. Wynn ; and County Executive Jack B. Johnson .

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

This go-round, Dems were eager to show they had put the election behind them and are raring for a big November win. Many said 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 S. Steele Senate matchup.

Unity was perhaps best on display between former rivals for the party's nomination for state 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 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.

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 Monday than they would have just days after the election.

The room was full of party members who had backed county executive candidate Rushern L. Baker III over Johnson or 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 expects to replace 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!"O'Malley said.

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