The Post's endorsement for Maryland's 8th Congressional District [editorial, Oct. 22] acknowledged that Democratic state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen would make an exceptional representative, yet tipped toward Republican Rep. Constance A. Morella. In doing so, The Post missed a golden opportunity to discuss the importance of party politics in government. A vote for Ms. Morella would be a vote for the Republican agenda in the House. The Post notes that fact may be determinative for some voters; but it should be important for all voters.

The federal government as well as most state legislatures operate on party lines. Party politics is not a bad thing; without it, legislators would be hard pressed to pick their leaders, organize their houses and do much of their work. It's time to acknowledge the benefits of legitimate partisanship and recognize that a vote for a candidate is a vote, in major part, for that candidate's party.

No representative deserves to be reelected simply because of her record. The question is: How will that representative vote on upcoming issues?

Both candidates in Maryland's 8th District support federal workers, women's rights and safety, the environment and gun control, among other issues. The difference is that one candidate, Mr. Van Hollen, holds a position shared by the bulk of his party, and Ms. Morella does not. It is important that voters keep that distinction in mind when they decide, through their vote, which party they want to have the major voice in setting the legislative agenda.

A change in party control can happen only district by district. If voters support the agenda of a party, they should vote for that party's candidate: How else will the balance shift?


Silver Spring