Later this week Republican Audrey Scott, running for Maryland's 5th District congressional seat, will name her campaign steering committee. Although it will include such luminaries as U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias and Congresswoman Marjorie Holt, it will have one glaring absence.
The list of those who will actively work for Scott's election in the northern Prince George's County district is designed to show partywide support for her in the special May 19 election. But it does not contain the name of County Executive Lawrence J. Hogan, the county's only elected Republican politican.
Given Hogan's position as Republican national committeeman for the state and his fame and popularity among Prince George's voters, the Scott campaign would not mind having him on the list of active supporters in Scott's uphill race against Democrat Steny Hoyer. But so far the county executive, whose son was trounced by Scott in a bitter Republican primary, has by all indications decided to sit this one out.
Three weeks after the primary and only three weeks before the general election, the Scott campaign has yet to meet with Hogan even for the purpose of a public endorsement. No joint campaign appearances have been scheduled and the two Republicans have spoken only a few words on the couple of occasions when they have run into each other at breakfasts and receptions.
While Scott campaign workers say Hogan's lack of interest in the race does not indicate a rift among the two Republicans, Hogan's closest associates maintain that is not exactly the case. Hogan, renowned for his hot temper, is in fact quite upset with Audrey Scott and what he felt was a unfairly negative primary campaign against Larry Hogan Jr., Hogan associates say.
"He feels she lied repeatedly about him [for political advantage], defamed his reputation and just made him look bad. If you feel strongly that someone is deceitful and untrustworthy how can you work for them," said one admittedly partisan Hogan associate.
During the primary race to fill Gladys Spellman's congressional seat, Scott continually called the younger Hogan "just a boy" and charged that the father had tried to muscle her out of the race in order to establish a Hogan "dynasty" or "machine." The hardhitting strategy worked so well -- Scott won in a landslide -- that she plans to pursue similar tactics in her current battle against Hoyer.
"We didn't think we ran a negative campaign," Scott responded this week. She said she called Hogan Jr. a "boy" throughout the primary campaign because "that was the most important issue. A negative campaign is when you go after someone and start dredging up dirt," Scott said.
Hogan himself has not been returning calls about the race, which could give Republicans control over the Prince George's seat for the first time since Hogan himself vacated it in 1974. According to the younger Hogan, who works for his father in county government, the older Hogan has "county business to attent to" and simply cannot find the time to devote to a political race.
Scott campaign workers have attempted to minimize Hogan's lack of involvement. Said state Republican Party Chairman Allan Levey: "Knowing Larry, he wants her to win as much as anyone else. [But] given the results of the primary, Larry may not know whether he'd help or hurt her" by getting actively involved in the campaign.
Scott press secretary Jim McAvoy said that Hogan "Just doesn't want to take an active role and we have not asked for him to.Larry Jr. was the candidate and he will be helping us." Besides, he said, the Scott campaign has attracted may other Republican luminaries, including Mathias and Holt, whose congressional district includes southern Prince George's.