Just about all the also-rans in Maryland's crowded Congressional and Senate primary fields seem to have purged themselves, one way or another, of the post-elections blues.
Dennis McCoy, who lost the race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination, took off a day to savor the sea breezes in Ocean City and returned refreshed and ready to go back to his law practice.
Mello Cottone, another of that campaign's vanquished, invited all the Democratic candidates to a post-election party to celebrate, mourn and kiss and make up.
Connie Morella and Robin Ficker, defeated in their bids for the Republican Congressional nomination in the Eight District, held a "unity press conference" with the victor two days after their loss.
These Maryland politicians, like thousands across the country have gone through a ritualistic purging process and moved on.
Then there is State Sen. Victor L. Crawford, who cannot seem to put the May 13 primary behind him.
Now, eight weeks after his defeat in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate, Crawford is beseiged by a creditor who threatens to seek his arrest for alleged failure to pay a campaign debt.
The situation already involves a bounced check, a courtroom skirmish, 137,000 pieces of campaign literature that eighter were or were not delivered and enough local headlines to give Crawford just the kind of publicity a politician doesn't need.
"Everyone who runs for public office today has to be an idiot," says the exasperated Crawford, who has been running -- frequently and with great-gusto-since 1967.
But if ever there was an illfated campaign for the veteran legislator, it had to be this year's bid for the U.S. Senate.
Last February, Crawford announced with characteristic bravado that he would seek the nomination and the chance to challenge the popular Republican incumbent, Sen. Charles McC. Mathias.
"It's a shot . . . a shot at the title, and we're the only two in the ring," Crawford boasted at the time.
But by the March 3 filing deadline, there were a dozen in the Democratic ring, and one of them, much to Crawford's surprise, was his state senate colleague, Edward T. Conroy, a Prince Georgian who captured Crawford's previous support in that county and ultimately walked away with the election.
During the campaign, Crawford poured $60,000 of his own money into the race, according to his campaign treasure Robert Jacques.
Two weeks before the election, Crawford was forced to replace his highly touted "hired gun" of a campaign manager, who he had brought down from New York in February to run the show.
Finally, a few days before the election, came the lawsuit filed by a Montgomery County businessman alleging that Crawford had stolen his wife's affections. The man sought $6 million in damages in the suit and accompanied his allegations with a press release, lest the even go unnoticed by the state's electorate. (The suit has since been dismissed).
Crawford's latest troubles involve Bob Bassett, the owner of a private postal service in Severna Park.
Bassett says that Crawford aides hired him to deliver 137,000 pieces of literture in the campaign's final days and paid him with a $6,360 check, signed by the senator himself.
The problem, according to Bassett, was that the check first bounced and then someone stopped payment on it.
Crawford and his campaign aides don't disagree. They say payment was stopped because a survey they did showed the literature was never delivered.
Bassett argues that their survey sample was so small, its results are meaningless and insists he delivered the goods. He first tried to collect from Crawford, he says, and then began seeking a warrant for Crawford's arrest on check fraud charges.
"That's like trying to arrest Jimmy Carter because (Carter campaign chairman) Bob Strauss stopped payment on a check," says Crawford.
Bassett went to police to seek the warrant, and they turned the matter over to the county prosecutor's office, which was reviewing the case this week. Bassett says no matter what that office decides, he won't let the matter die. He'll go on to federal prosecutors or the Federal Election Commission, if need be.
As for Crawford, he thinks "running for office is the worst job in the world. You've got the Federal Election Commission laws that nobody can understand and guys like this, this Bassett, trying to take you to the cleaners."
Bassett speaks just as highly of the senator: "I think he's lost his sense of reason," says the Severna Park businessman.
But despite it all, inveterate campaigner Crawford is not about to give up the game of politics.
"No, no, no, no, no," came his swift reply to such a suggestion. "Once you've got it in the blood, you cant quit."