WASHINGTON – Not one of them finished within 29 percentage points of the congressional incumbents on Election Day, but most of the nine major party candidates who lost in Maryland said they would consider running for office again.
“Running for office can be very addictive,” said Gazette columnist Blair Lee of challengers who were bitten by the political bug. “They don’t call them political junkies for nothing.”
Not all of the losers are up for the same race as before. Some said they might set their sights on another office, others said they are considering a rematch and still others said it is too soon to commit to another campaign — but none would rule it out.
Some barely waited for the returns from this election to come in before promising a future campaign.
“I concluded my (concession) speech with the words of the California governor: I’ll be back,” said state Sen. E.J. Pipkin, a Republican who lost his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, a Democrat, by a convincing 65-34 percent margin.
Pipkin has been mentioned as a possible GOP candidate for the next Senate election in 2006, but coyly eluded specific answers about seats he might seek.
Brad Jewitt, a 5th District Republican who lost to Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, by a 69-30 percent margin, said he is open to the idea of a rematch, as well as the possibility of a campaign for another office.
Jewitt said he looked at precinct-by-precinct polling data and “saw pockets where I was stronger,” leading him to believe that he could succeed in running for a state legislative seat, which has districts much smaller than congressional districts.
But Jewitt also said he wanted “to refocus and get inside the numbers before I make any firm commitment.” The former Marine’s immediate concern is finding a job.
Employment is not a concern to Democrat Kostas Alexakis, a restaurant owner and president of a software consulting firm who ran an unsuccessful campaign to unseat 1st District Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville. Despite losing by a 76-24 percent margin, Alexakis said he has the time and is seriously considering a rematch with Gilchrest in 2006.
“I ran because I’m motivated to fill a gap that I feel is large,” said Alexakis, whose campaign focused on education and environmental issues. “I didn’t run because I need a job.”
Republican Chuck Floyd also appears to be unconstrained by finances. The retired State Department employee and businessman spent $220,920 of his own money in his 8th District race against Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Kensington, who won by a 75-25 percent margin.
Floyd could not be reached for comment. But his campaign manager, David Byrd, said that while Floyd has not announced any specifics, he would be open to the possibility of another congressional run or even a bid for Montgomery County executive.
Other candidates were weighing their options this week.
Tony Salazar would not rule out another run after his defeat in the 7th District, but the Republican said “it is far too early to tell” if another campaign is in his future. He said any decision would have to follow staff meetings to wrap up the race he just finished.
Similarly, 2nd District Republican Jane Brooks might eventually convene a committee to consider another congressional run, but “she’s not going to settle on anything anytime soon because now all she needs is some rest,” said her husband, Thomas.
Sixth District Democrat Kenneth Bosley lost his third congressional campaign this week, but had not yet made a decision about a fourth race, said his son. Fourth District Republican challenger John McKinnis could not be reached for comment.
But at least one losing candidate was looking back before he would look forward.
Bob Duckworth, a Republican who lost to 3rd District Rep. Benjamin Cardin, D-Baltimore, by a 63-34 percent margin, said a 2006 race would be out of the question if he had to face Cardin again.
“If Cardin were not to run again, I would certainly run,” Duckworth said, “and I would be the next congressman.”
— CNS reporters Christina Cepero, Kia Hall Hayes, Rachel Jackson, K Kaufmann, Chris Kotterman and Subodh Mishra contributed to this story.
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