WASHINGTON- Kenneth Bosley is disillusioned. If only he had a little more time, the Democrat said, his second unsuccessful bid for Congress from Maryland’s 2nd District would have been a success.
“I could have done much more…I could have got Bill Clinton to campaign for me in the District,” Bosley said, three days after he lost to Rep. Robert Ehrlich, R-Timonium, by a 69-31 percent margin. “But, I really did not have the time. If I did it would have been a different story.”
Bosley is not the only candidate brooding. As the dust settles from Maryland’s eight congressional races, it’s time for the losers to move on to the next and final stage of the election — pointing fingers and offering excuses.
With all of Maryland’s House incumbents easily re-elected, the challengers are blaming a lack of time and money, and a lack of support from their respective parties, for their dismal defeats.
For Kenneth Kondner, the Republican candidate in Maryland’s 7th District, it’s the blood clots in his legs.
“I had planned to do some intensive campaigning for these elections,” said Kondner, a dental technician, who lost to Rep. Elijah Cummings, D- Baltimore, by a margin of 87-13 percent. “But, the blood clots on my leg made that impossible.
“All I could do was put up signs in the polling booths the night before the elections. That just worsened my clots and got my legs all bandaged again,” he said.
Kondner further blamed what he called a lack of support from the GOP for the loss, his sixth consecutive defeat in the 7th District.
“You need more money to advertise yourself and let the people know more about you and the issues you stand for,” he said. “The Republican Party has done little to help my cause. They believe that the 7th District is a lost cause. It’s that attitude that is playing in the minds of the people.
“Today, I can just walk around in the streets of Baltimore City and not have a single person know who I am. People don’t know…don’t think…and don’t care,” Kondner said.
GOP nominee Colin Harby, who lost to Rep. Benjamin Cardin, D-Baltimore, in the 3rd District, agrees with Kondner.
“For a challenger to beat an incumbent, he or she must have a real bona fide program,” he said. “The lack of enthusiasm within the Republican Party makes it hard to have that.”
Democrat Bennett Bozman said he was “happy with my party” for the support he got in his failed 1st District race, but he agreed with Harby that the present situation makes it very hard for a challenger to beat an incumbent.
“Apart from (a challenger) having very little funds, the incumbent takes advantage of the platform the person enjoys in unethical ways,” said Bozman, who lost by a 64-36 percent margin to Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville.
“While they (incumbents) participate in the numerous town hall meetings in their capacity as a congressman, they often use that as a platform to campaign. If I go to a similar meeting, I will be looked upon as a candidate,” he said. “It’s tough for a challenger to get some recognition.”
Recognition was not a problem for the loser in the 4th District, John Kimble. The GOP candidate made news with personal attacks on his opponent, Rep. Al Wynn, D-Largo, and ads that Wynn, who is black, left his wife and child for a white woman — ads voiced by Wynn’s estranged wife.
“There seems to be a double standard here,” said Kimble, who is white, of his 88-12 percent loss in the majority-black district. “I now believe that they (voters) lack morals.”
Kimble vowed to “tear the district into pieces” saying that it was it was too skewed to the predominantly Democratic African-American population.
Democrat Donald DeArmon also cited the makeup of his district, the 6th, in his loss to Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, by a margin of 61-39 percent.
“The population in the 6th District is growing too quickly vis-a-vis the rest of the state,” DeArmon said of the Western Maryland district. “It will have to shrink for people to compete, especially for under-funded challengers like me.
“Redistricting will be one of the factors taken into consideration before I compete next time,” said DeArmon.
Most of the other unsuccessful candidates, like DeArmon, said they are taking a wait-and-see attitude about the possibility of another campaign in 2002. Only Kondner — who said he will hang it up unless his friends “promise all support” — and Kimble seem certain of what they will do.
“I am looking at the 6th District,” Kimble said. “I think I have a better chance contesting from there. The people here (4th District) don’t think.”