By Christopher anderson
WASHINGTON – The 4th District GOP primary was too close to callWednesday, with perennial challenger John Kimble leading Floyd Andersonby just 62 votes out of more than 9,300 cast, according to unofficialstate returns.
Kimble’s 0.7 percent lead could be reversed once write-in votes, whichthe state board of elections began counting Wednesday, are tallied.
But most political observers believe the GOP nominee, whoever he maybe, has little chance against Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Largo, in the heavilyDemocratic district, which includes parts of Prince George’s andMontgomery counties.
“What are you going to do, convert all of those Democrats in three months?” asked James Gimpel, a professor of government and politics at the University of Maryland. The Republicans can only “hope that theDemocratic candidate screws up,” he said.
But state GOP officials pledged Wednesday to stand behind theircandidate in November.
“We’re going to support our nominee,” said Paul Ellington, theMaryland party’s executive director. “Our goal is to give Al Wynn a runfor his money.
“We’re waiting to see, just like everyone else, who will win,”Ellington said.
Kimble did not return repeated calls Wednesday to comment on theprimary results.
Anderson said he has no plans to contest the primary results, “unlessI hear there was some problem with the election.” But he said he will notendorse Kimble until they have had a chance to discuss some issues onwhich they disagree, including transportation, education and SocialSecurity.
Anderson, who has been active in the PTA at the local and regionallevels, has never run for federal office before. This would be Kimble’sfourth run against Wynn. He has been nominated, and lost, every electionfor the 4th District since 1996.
Kimble is known for his unusual campaign style, hiring Wynn’s formerwife, Jessie, to work on his campaign in 2000 and offering to pose nudefor Playgirl magazine another year.
Republicans are hoping that recent redistricting of the 4th District, which added more than 20,000 new Republican voters will make a differencein the outcome of the general election this year.
But Wynn was not worried Wednesday.
“We have some specific objectives in terms of our campaign and we’regoing to pursue those and not focus so much on who the opponent is,” hesaid.
Most political analysts agree that neither candidate poses a serious challenge to Wynn, who won 86 percent of the vote in the 2000 election.
“It’s an overwhelmingly Democratic district,” said Eric Uslaner,another University of Maryland government and politics professor. “Onceyou get a district that is so overwhelmingly Democratic . . . it reallyis almost impossible or extraordinarily difficult for the minority partyto come up with a good candidate.”
Uslaner also said it’s not surprising that a candidate like Kimble,with his unorthodox style, is a recurring character in the district.
“When you end up with a minority party candidate in an overwhelminglynon- competitive race, you wind up with a more extreme candidate,” hesaid. “He’s not going to get any Democratic votes. He may not even getall the Republican votes. There is no pressure on him at all to moderatehis positions.”