ANNAPOLIS – Delegate Mark K. Shriver, a scion of the fabled Kennedy family, Thursday became the fourth Democrat vying for Maryland’s 8th Congressional District seat.
The 8th District needs a stronger voice in Washington, Shriver said, in announcing he had filed candidacy papers with the Federal Election Commission.
That stronger voice, he said, is needed to counter cuts in services to children, families, workplace safety and abortion rights.
“The hard-working families of Montgomery County need a representative in Congress who will fight for the values and commitments we share,” said Shriver, chairman of the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families in the General Assembly.
Shriver’s announcement sets up a possible primary for the right to represent the Democrats for the seat now held by eight-term Rep. Constance A. Morella, R-Bethesda.
Shriver’s colleague in the General Assembly, state Sen. Christopher Van Hollen, D-Montgomery, announced the formation of an exploratory committee late last month.
Former U.S. trade negotiator Ira Shapiro also announced his candidacy for the Congressional seat, as has three-time candidate Debra Vollmer, a lawyer from Chevy Chase.
Shriver declined to compare himself with Van Hollen, however, the similarities are many: both are champions of several similar issues in Annapolis; both hold Harvard University master’s degrees; both entered the General Assembly the same year.
Shriver did note that he has formalized his candidacy, while Van Hollen has only formed an exploratory committee.
“I’m moving ahead and focusing on a message that will resonate with the people of this district, and I’m in it to win,” Shriver said. He did not discuss the other Democrats in the race.
“I will have an announcement of my own in the near future,” said Van Hollen, saying he has a strong record in Annapolis and strong support.
Shriver is the son of Sergeant and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, who is the sister of U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass, and the late President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.
Shriver will make a formal announcement in the next couple of weeks, according to spokesman Jonathan Weinberg, but held a meeting of an initial finance committee yesterday with more than 95 people attending.
Weinberg said attendees were mostly grass-roots supporters, but some prominent movers and shakers also showed up, including Otto Ruesch, president of international finance firm Ruesch International. Also present were David Rutstein, past chairman of the Washington Board of Trade, and philanthropist Pennie Abramson who runs a charitable foundation with her husband Gary.
Shriver also has the support of Terry Lierman, who stunned Morella in the 2000 battle for her seat. Lierman, although politically wounded by revelations of an improper loan to a Virginia congressman, came the closest of any of her challengers with 46 percent of the vote. Morella has won previous campaigns with 60 percent or more.
Morella is mulling a possible run for governor in 2002, as legislative Democrats are threatening to redraw congressional boundaries and make her district unwinnable for a Republican.
Her spokesman, Jonathan Dean, would only say “she’s keeping her options open . . . she is running for something in 2002, definitely.”
– 30 – CNS-4-12-01