WASHINGTON – How do you get from Jessup to Capitol Hill? For Charles McPeek, the answer is through the 5th District.
And the 6th District.
And the 7th.
The new- and used-tire salesman will ultimately show up on Tuesday’s ballot as a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 7th District, cappinga seven-month odyssey that saw him register to run in three districts.
Originally, the Laurel resident ran in his home district — the 5th –but withdrew after his “research showed that it would be almostimpossible” to unseat incumbent Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville.
McPeek anted up another $100 candidate registration fee andre-registered in the 6th District, where his Jessup business is located.That was in February.
He had been campaigning hard in Columbia when, in June, redistricting moved that part of Howard County into the 7th District. So McPeek wentback to the elections board and registered in the 7th District.
Because redistricting was partly to blame for the shift, stateelections officials waived the $100 fee for McPeek’s third registration.
For the past three months, McPeek has been campaigning againstincumbent Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, in the district thatincludes west Baltimore and parts of Anne Arundel, Howard and Baltimorecounties.
Candidates typically run where they live, but McPeek is quick to pointout that it is legal for a candidate to register and run in anotherdistrict.
What is not so typical is for a candidate to register in his homedistrict and two other districts in the course of one race. RossGoldstein, director of the State Board of Elections, could not saywhether McPeek is the first candidate to be registered in multipledistricts, but he did say that it is unusual.
But McPeek is not your usual candidate.
His United People’s “Tax-tics Club of America” web page opens saying,”By now you must know that politicians run the country and big businessesrun the politician.” Running not as a politician, but as a working man,McPeek advocates doing away with the party system.
Maryland Democratic Party spokesman David Paulson said that the party “would disagree vehemently on that part of his platform.”
Other proposals from McPeek, a registered Democrat, include decriminalizing prostitution and replacing the income tax with anacross-the- board consumption tax.
McPeek says he feels good about his prospects in the election. But Maryland Democratic Party spokesman David Paulson said that McPeek faces”not an uphill but a mountain of a battle against a popular vote-getterlike Cummings.”