An item in the June 2 Montgomery Extra listed the incorrect time for a reception for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley. It is to take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg, in the Activity Center. (Published 6/9/2005)

Don't count on former U.S. representative Constance A. Morella (R) returning from Paris to try to reclaim her 8th District congressional seat.

With incumbent Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) mulling a run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Paul S. Sarbanes (D), Republican leaders have been shopping around for a candidate who they think could win if there is an open seat.

Montgomery County Council member Howard A. Denis (R-Bethesda-Potomac) said he and several other Republican leaders have contacted Morella, who lost her seat to Van Hollen in 2002, to see if she was interested in running again.

"I think there very well could be a yearning for her type of leadership and personality and maybe a feeling of perhaps we were too quick to pull on the trigger last time," Denis said.

But Morella, a liberal Republican who represented the 8th District for 16 years, told Denis she isn't interested.

"I think she likes being an ambassador," Denis said. "At least that is the impression I got back."

After Van Hollen narrowly defeated Morella, President Bush named her ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which is based in Paris.

Denis, who visited Morella in Paris over the Christmas holidays, said she lives in a multistory house facing the Bois de Boulogne, a large park.

"After visiting her . . . I could well understand why she should not be interested," Denis said.

At least a dozen Democrats are considering running if Van Hollen steps down. So far, Charles R. Floyd is the only Republican to indicate that he plans to run.

Floyd, a retired military officer and State Department employee, ran against Van Hollen last year but lost by about 75 percent of the vote. Floyd has said his 2006 campaign will focus on illegal immigration.

Denis, however, said he thinks Morella would be the only GOP candidate who could win in a district that includes the western and southern portions of Montgomery and a small section of Prince George's. Besides her moderate image, Denis suspects a lot of residents would vote for her because they still think she is the incumbent.

"It's amazing to me, talking to people and listening to people, how many of them still think she is in Congress," Denis said.

Van Hollen Still Undecided

The political establishment is anxiously awaiting Van Hollen's decision on a possible Senate bid. But in an interview this week, Van Hollen said he is in no rush to make up his mind.

"I am continuing doing what I have been doing, which is actively exploring the possibility of running," Van Hollen said. "I continue to travel across the state of Maryland and continue to talk to people across the state."

Van Hollen, who said a final decision may not come for a month or two, said he is assessing "the shape of the race," voters' priorities and whether he "can best represent those issues."

"And frankly," Van Hollen said, "I have to make a decision on the wear and tear on my family."

When asked which way he was leaning, Van Hollen said, "Right now, there are some days I wake up and say charge and other days I wake up and say it's important to look before you leap."

If he decided to run, Van Hollen would compete against U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and former NAACP leader and U.S. representative Kweisi Mfume, who have both already announced plans to seek the Democratic nomination. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele (R) has been mentioned as a possible Republican candidate, but has yet to signal whether he intends to enter the race.

O'Malley to Visit

Baltimore Mayor Martin J. O'Malley, a likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2006, is stepping up his visits to Montgomery County.

O'Malley has three events listed on his campaign Web site during the month of June, and they are all in Montgomery, the home of his likely rival for the Democratic nomination, County Executive Douglas M. Duncan.

On Monday, O'Malley will speak "about what is happening in Baltimore as well as in the state of Maryland" during an event at the Friendship Heights Village Center.

Later that week, on June 11, a reception for O'Malley will be held at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg. The event, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

O'Malley also will speak to the Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club on June 22.

While O'Malley mines for potential support on Duncan's home turf, the county executive will be taking his all-but-announced campaign for governor to Prince George's County. Duncan will be holding a $20-a-ticket community barbeque at Newton Mansion in Mitchellville on June 16.

Human Services Chief Makes Top 100

The Daily Record, a newspaper serving the state's legal and business communities, has named Carolyn W. Colvin, director of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, as one of Maryland's Top 100 Women.

The annual award, established in 1996, recognizes the achievements of professional women who reside or work in Maryland.

Colvin, an Olney resident who manages 1,400 county employees, has served as director of Health and Human Services since March 2003. Prior to that, she served as director of the District's Department of Human Services from 2001 to 2003 and was the secretary of the Maryland Department of Human Resources from 1989 to 1994.

Duncan said in a statement that Colvin "is a shining example of public service at its best."