WASHINGTON – Republican perennial candidate John Kimble has called Rep. Al Wynn many things in their repeated campaigns against one another.
Now Kimble is calling the Largo Democrat something new — his friend and the candidate he will support in November.
“Albert Wynn is a friend of mine. He is a good man, he is personable,” said Kimble, who lost his fifth bid for the Republican nomination earlier this month with only 16 percent of the vote.
“There are only two people that can serve District 4: John Kimble and Albert Wynn,” Kimble said Friday. “So if I’m not running, then I’ll do everything in my power to get Wynn elected.”
Kimble said he has not spoken directly to Wynn, but is interested in volunteering for his campaign to help ensure that Republican John McKinnis does not unseat the six-term incumbent this fall.
Wynn said earlier this week that he welcomes the endorsement but did not comment further.
Kimble’s turnaround would be unusual for any other candidate — but Kimble is not like any other candidate.
“At this point, nothing would surprise me when it comes to the Kimble campaign,” said Blair Lee, a political columnist for the Gazette newspapers.
Kimble has actively campaigned against Wynn since 1996, often using unconventional tactics.
In his first campaign, Kimble offered to pose nude for Playgirl magazine if radio shock jock Howard Stern raised $1 million for his campaign. Both Stern and Playgirl declined.
Kimble recruited Wynn’s ex-wife as his campaign chairwoman during the 2000 election, and he filed suit in September 2002, charging that the 4th District was “racially gerrymandered” to favor the black Wynn over Kimble, who is white.
The redistricting suit is still pending, but Kimble said Friday he will not press it because he does not want “to do anything that is going to take my friend Albert Wynn out of office.”
“I have not withdrawn the lawsuit, but I’m not going to pursue it if the judge dismisses it,” he said.
Kimble said Friday that he has officially left the Republican Party — which nominated him in 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2002 to face Wynn — and registered as an independent.
“I know never to say never, but I know in the state of Maryland, I will never run again as a Republican, and I will never vote again as a Republican,” Kimble said.
Lee said the endorsement and the party-switch is no big surprise coming from a man known for his “attention-getting.” Both moves would probably have “no effect whatsoever” on the outcome of the election.
Lee called Kimble the “east-side Robin Ficker,” referring to another headline-grabbing candidate in the Washington suburbs.
“Like Ficker, people recognize the name with a negative connotation,” Lee said. “He (Kimble) is unelectable.”
-30- CNS 03-19-04