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Campaign stunt launches a corporate 'candidate' for Congress

Ideas rolling in

Bring on the competition, says Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), who holds the 8th Congressional District seat in Maryland.
Bring on the competition, says Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D), who holds the 8th Congressional District seat in Maryland. (Melina Mara/the Washington Post)
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Whether or not a corporation ultimately replaces Van Hollen in Congress, Murray Hill's interest has sparked other speculation among the political chattering class in Maryland.

Why not have an accounting firm run for comptroller, the state's chief tax collector? Why not a law firm for attorney general? The winning firm could arrive in office with a full cadre of associates and save taxpayers money.

It remains to be seen whether the attention generated by Murray Hill's bid will be good for its bottom line.

"This really wasn't part of a marketing plan for ourselves," Hensal said. "It's an opportunity to see this court opinion play out to its logical conclusion."

In the meantime, Murray Hill is looking to franchise -- and found its first taker: Computer Umbrella of Sterling. The company is planning to run in Virginia's 10th Congressional District.

A Murray Hill tool kit available for other corporate aspirants includes a model news release, talking points and templates for other campaign materials.

"If your campaign conforms to Murray Hill Inc.'s exacting standards," the company says, "your materials may use our logo and official graphics, which tell the world you are an affiliate of the leader in corporate civil rights."

Stephen A. Horvath, a prominent Montgomery banker, said he thinks he is probably better represented in Congress by a live human than a corporation but added: "I guess with a corporation, should someone go on vacation, like many of our current members of Congress, you'd have fill-ins to take their place."


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