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Alex Mooney's campaign kickoff

April 29, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Republican Sen. Alex X. Mooney says he'll try to energize his conservative base as he officially kicks off his re-election campaign today with a fund-raiser in Frederick.

Mooney, 30, plans to remind his supporters of what he's done during his first four-year term to oppose tax increases and defend traditional Judeo-Christian values.

"I've fought for what I believe in," the Republican said.

Mooney said he will also stress how he believes Gov. Parris Glendening redrew the boundaries of the legislative district to help challenger Del. Sue Hecht.

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Under the redistricting process, Mooney will lose 22,000 constituents in Washington County where he won 67 percent of the vote in the last district race.

The new district includes about half as many Washington County residents, including about 3,000 who can't vote because they are in prison.

"The goal, in order to try to make this seat more Democratic, was to remove as much of Washington County as possible," he said.

The new district has only slightly more Republicans than Democrats.

Mooney said he's preparing his supporters for a spirited race against Hecht, a Democrat who has represented Frederick and Washington counties in the House of Delegates for seven years.

Washington County Republican Club President Mildred "Mickey" Myers said Mooney has the energy and drive he needs for a tough race.

"He's not going to listen to the naysayers. Even though Sue's been around a little longer, Alex certainly has made a name for himself," she said.

His outspoken opposition to the leadership in Annapolis hasn't won him many friends there, said Maryland Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele.

But Mooney has played an important role in shaping the debate, Steele said.

"The voters know what they're getting up front with Alex. He's not going to be one thing at home and another thing in Annapolis," he said. "I think you're getting consistency and an honest approach to solving the problems."

When Hecht announced her bid to unseat Mooney earlier this month, she played up her ability to get things done with the help of the leadership in the Maryland General Assembly.

To counter that, Mooney issued a press release this week about his meeting with high-ranking officials in the Bush Administration.

"My constituents in Frederick and Washington counties will certainly benefit from the leadership exhibited from President Bush and closer ties to the White House," he said in the press release.

On Friday, Mooney spent time meeting potential voters in Sharpsburg.

Mooney's fund-raiser today is being co-sponsored by two Maryland Republican Congressmen, U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett and U.S. Rep. Robert Ehrlich.

Bartlett said voters will have a distinct choice.

"This is a very clear case of having a very conservative candidate and a very liberal candidate. The conservative voice of reason needs to be heard in Maryland," he said.

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