WASHINGTON – They say if you put 23 people in the same room, there’s a good chance two will share the same birthday.
So what happens when you put 10 people in a U.S. Senate race?
Kind of the same thing.
There’s just something strange about how the birthdays of the 10 candidates running for Maryland’s first open U.S. Senate seat in 20 years line up.
According to a mathematical principle known as the Birthday Paradox, you need to gather 23 people before the chance that two people share a birthday exceeds 50 percent.
Yet this group of 10 candidates includes two who were born on March 8 and a whopping seven who celebrate birthdays in March or October.
As a result, of a possible 12 astrological sun signs, determined by one’s date of birth, three signs figure repeatedly in the field for retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes’ seat.
Three contenders are Pisces. Three are Scorpios. The early favorites for their party nominations, Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Baltimore, and Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele of Largo, are both Librans born in October.
Of the two Pisces who share a birthday, A. Robert Kaufman, 74, is a Democrat and Corrogan Vaughn, 39, a Republican. One is a socialist, the other a businessman. One is white, the other black. But they’re both from Baltimore and seek the same public office.
Is all this coincidence? Or something more?
Here’s a breakdown:
— Rep. Ben Cardin, Democrat, born Oct. 5, 1943, Libra.
— Thomas Hampton, Republican, born Dec. 6, 1953, Sagittarius
— A. Robert Kaufman, Democrat, born March 8, 1931, Pisces
— Allan Lichtman, Democrat, born April 4, 1947, Aries
— Kweisi Mfume, Democrat, born Oct. 24, 1948, Scorpio
— Joshua Rales, Democrat, born Nov. 17, 1957, Scorpio
— Lt. Gov. Michael Steele, Republican, born Oct. 19, 1958, Libra
— Lise Van Susteren, Democrat, born March 7, 1951, Pisces
— Corrogan Vaughn, Republican, born March 8, 1966, Pisces
— Kevin Zeese, Independent, born Oct. 28, 1955, Scorpio
The astrologers approached for this story agreed there is something to the alignment of the stars influencing politics, but most cautioned they couldn’t comment in detail without knowing the exact time of birth for each Senate candidate.
Phyllis Firak-Mitz, an astrologer and personal counselor from Colorado with a master’s in psychology, said planetary movements position some people for success more than others.
“You see how everyone is unique, but it’s almost like, in a certain era, certain signs are going to be our leaders,” Firak-Mitz said, pointing to Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush as examples of leaders who share similar astrological traits.
Born in 1946, Clinton and Bush share planetary angles that incline them to be charming and desire friends and partnerships, said Baltimore astrology teacher Kitty Hatcher.
To gauge a candidate’s tendencies and fortune, “The symmetry of the universe at the time of election has to be compared to the symmetry of the universe at the time of birth” as well as other factors, said Tom Jerome Roma of Swarthmore, Pa., an engineer by training who studies planetary alignments to make economic and political forecasts.
Hatcher, vice president of the Baltimore chapter of the National Council of Geocosmic Research, drew up astrology charts based on the Senate candidates’ birth dates and the assumption that all candidates were born at noon. She was struck by their similarities.
All candidates except one, fell among the last six signs of the Zodiac, indicating they were all “very interested in interacting with other people,” Hatcher said. The first six signs are more interested in learning about themselves, she said.
“One of the things that I thought was interesting is the majority of these people are very psychic and intuitive and connect very emotionally to the public,” Hatcher said.
Ongoing planetary movements, particularly of Uranus, Jupiter and Saturn, can also strengthen inner tendencies, Firak-Mitz said.
For example, Pisces like Kaufman, Vaughn and Van Susteren have a basic urge to make a difference in their community, Firak-Mitz said.
Uranus, which governs change, is moving through Pisces’ constellation, Firak-Mitz said, making for “a disruptive time where things are different.” Uranus will stay in Pisces until March 2011, Hatcher said.
“Uranus is a catalyst. It just knocks somebody right out of their rut,” Hatcher said. “It gives you the courage to take a risk, where you’ll actually stick your neck out there.”
As a result, Pisces will want to change their lives, including running for office as a way to affect social change, Firak-Mitz said.
Scorpios like Mfume, Zeese and Rales, who are natural leaders, will benefit from the movement of Jupiter, which governs luck and prosperity, through their sign over the next year, Firak-Mitz said. Jupiter will leave Libra and enter Scorpio on Oct. 26 and remain until Nov. 24, 2006 — after Election Day, Hatcher said.
“That’s also a very fortunate, very lucky period,” Firak-Mitz said.
And Saturn, the planet that governs responsibility, will affect how certain signs “reap what they sow,” Hatcher said. Scorpios will reassess decisions made seven years ago and take on more responsibility, while Librans, Sagittarians and Aries will reap rewards for their past hard work, Hatcher said.
Numerologist Craig Wright of Baltimore said Lichtman, a history professor and the only Aries in the field, will reap rewards. Based on calculations from the dates of candidate births, the primaries and the general election, Wright forecasts Lichtman will win the Democratic nomination and then the Senate seat against Hampton.
Lichtman pronounced himself delighted at the findings.
“I always thought I was the candidate who stood out from the pack,” Lichtman said. “I always thought all the conventional wisdom about who would win this election was wrong.”
Although astrology charts tell the kinds of challenges and aptitudes one has, they don’t control one’s life or attitude, Hatcher emphasized.
“The chart tells you what kind of ingredients you’re made of,” she said. “But you have a choice of what you do with it.”