Democrat Wendell M. Holloway opened a self-proclaimed long-shot bid for his party's nomination to the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland's 8th District yesterday, vowing to take his campaign to "every street and every door" in the jurisdiction.
"We would be crazy to think this is going to be a piece of cake," said Holloway, a 53-year-old Potomac resident, who lags far behind his rivals in raising funds. "But remember, it's not the money that votes -- it's the people."
Holloway and four other Democrats have been crisscrossing the 8th District, which takes in most of Montgomery County, for several months in search of support in their party's Sept. 9 primary election.
Before 50 friends and neighbors gathered for the announcement, Holloway stressed his knowledge of the inner workings of Capitol Hill, gained in three years as an assistant to former representative Yvonne Brathwaite Burke (D-Calif.) and nine years as a lobbyist for Ford Motor Co. Holloway is on leave from Ford while he campaigns.
Invoking the idealism of John F. Kennedy and promising to work to "keep America on top," Holloway, a retired Air Force colonel, also offered to fight federal cuts in education aid, reduce the U.S. government's deficit and work for a "tough and lean" defense budget.
Many of Holloway's announced goals are similar to those of the other Democrats in the primary race: state Sen. Stewart Bainum Jr., lobbyist Leon Billings, County Council member Esther P. Gelman and former representative Carlton R. Sickles.
However, the candidates have widely varying amounts of money with which to carry their messages to voters. Holloway trails the pack, having raised $11,447 in the first three months of this year, mostly by lending his own money to the campaign.
Bainum led the field by collecting nearly $150,000 in the same period.
Holloway said yesterday he remains undaunted by the odds.
"I'm used to long hauls," he said. "All the good things in life that happen don't just fall on you. Don't we still dare to dream?"
Despite yesterday's muggy weather, Holloway's good humor seemed infectious during the announcement ceremony that was staged within sight of Winston Churchill High School. Churchill's legendary football program has generated an extraordinarily close network of families in Potomac, and Holloway and his wife Kay have been among the more active members of the group.
Two of their sons played football at Churchill; one of them, Brian, is an all-pro tackle for the New England Patriots and a major contributor to his father's political campaign.
"Wendell's a dedicated fellow," said Fritz Emde, whose children played football with the Holloways'. Emde, who dealt with Holloway while Emde was working as a lobbyist for NASA, said his friend of eight years was "superbly qualified for the job."
"I hope he can win, although realistically he's got a long way to go," Emde said.
Holloway plans to cover most of that ground by trailer -- a gleaming, 31-foot Airstream that will double as a mobile office and portable billboard on the campaign trail. "We figure that with this, people will know we're coming -- and coming we are," he said.