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Congressional Losers Spend Less Time Licking Wounds Than Looking Forward to 2004

By David M. Pittman
Capital News Service
Friday, Nov. 8, 2002

WASHINGTON - Don DeArmon went to work on Capitol Hill last week, not as a new member of the 108th Congress, but as a congressional staffer -- just as he was before Tuesday's election.

Scott Conwell isn't helping to bring home millions in government contracts as a new member of Maryland's congressional delegation. Instead, he has gone back to writing and shaping those same contracts as a Washington lawyer.

And John Kimble continues to rail against the redrawing of Maryland's 4th District, just like he did before his fourth unsuccessful campaign for the seat.

With no votes left to count and any chance of winning long gone, Tuesday's congressional losers began the process of returning to a normal life and, in some cases, looking forward to future campaigns.

Republican 3rd District candidate Scott Conwell is still energetic after his defeat to Rep. Ben Cardin, D-Baltimore. He sees his loss a positive step in any future run for office.

"I was an unknown candidate and now I'm not," Conwell said. "I know Ben Cardin is a formidable candidate, anytime, anyplace. But being second next to Ben Cardin isn't such a bad thing.

"I think I took on the toughest candidate in Maryland," he said.

Democrat Don DeArmon might disagree.

DeArmon, who lost a second bid to unseat five-term Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Frederick, in the 6th District, is going back to work full-time as a congressional staffer. He believes that he ran a strong campaign, but that it's too demanding, especially for challengers, to balance a run for office and a private life.

"You expect congressional candidates to put their lives on hold, and it's just not possible," he said.

DeArmon said that he will not seek a third run. "I've had my shot now twice. It's time for someone else to have a chance."

But Joe Crawford, a Waldorf businessman who lost the 5th District race to Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, said his 2004 campaign started "at 8:01 p.m.," a minute after the polls closed Tuesday.

Although he would never admit it during the campaign or tell it to voters, Crawford said his main goal in this election was simply to get his name out there and gain momentum for 2004.

"It takes name recognition, pure and simple," he said. "I recognize that it is something that takes a long time. I'm not going to be one of those guys that has done nothing politically and then shows up to run for a major office.

Ann Tamlyn calls her unsuccessful run in the 1st District against Rep. Wayne Gilchrest, R-Kennedyville, a "good experience." But when it comes to her political future, she is not ready to commit to another run.

"There's a big blank right now," she said.

And then there is John Kimble. The four-time challenger to the Rep Al Wynn, D-Mitchellville, is proceeding with his lawsuit against the redrawing of the 4th District -- even though the redistricting appeared to help him at the polls.

Kimble said he won some ground with the parts of Montgomery County that were added to the district and will challenge Wynn -- again -- in two years.

"At some point they'll either have to pay me off or redraw the district," Kimble said.

-- CNS reporter Etan Horowitz contributed to this report.


Copyright 2002 University of Maryland College of Journalism

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