WASHINGTON – Breaking up is hard to do, but making up is proving even harder for some rank-and-file Democrats.
Just days after a bruising five-way primary for the 8th District nomination, some volunteers for the losing campaigns were finding it hardto kiss and make up with Democratic nominee Christopher Van Hollen, astheir candidates and party leaders have urged.
“A lot of people are still getting over the fact that we lost,” saidRick Abbruzzese, a campaign spokesman for Democratic challenger MarkShriver.
One of those people was teacher Stu Eisenman, who spent much of thesummer campaigning for Shriver. He called Shriver’s loss to Van Hollen”heartbreaking.”
Even though he doesn’t want to see Rep. Connie Morella, R-Bethesda, returned to office, Eisenman said Thursday he cannot bring himself tovolunteer for Van Hollen, or even vote for him.
But others were coming around to the fact that, as WTOP politicalanalyst Mark Plotkin put it, “There’s gonna have to be some kiss and makeup.”
Rockville attorney Brad Koplinski, who was working on Shriver’scampaign until Wednesday, said he is now volunteering for Van Hollen, whogot 43.5 percent of the primary vote to Shriver’s 40.5 percent.
“I was waiting really for the shakedown of who was going to emergefrom this. My overriding concern is getting a Democrat on that seat,” hesaid.
Koplinski said Shriver supporters will probably vote for Van Hollen,but he could not predict how much they would do besides “pull the leverfor him over Connie.”
“It’s really the workers in the trenches who are the real dedicatedones. It’s unclear whether they’ll support the . . . nominee,” he said.
Van Hollen spokesman Afshin Mohamadi said that about 100 formervolunteers for Shriver and challenger Ira Shapiro have called to offerhelp since the primary. So far, though, none of the Democratic candidateshave made plans to mobilize volunteers for Van Hollen.
Shriver has sent out 7,000 letters encouraging his supporters to backhis former rival and he is trying to get the unions that endorsed him todo the same now for Van Hollen.
Abbruzzese said environmental and gun control groups will probably befast to swing to Van Hollen, but that it might take more time for others.
“Mark had minorities working for him, people with disabilities, labor, college kids,” Abbruzzese said. “It was because of him that we were allthere.”