Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest has the abortion rights advocates and Lisa Renshaw the anti-abortion forces, while Rep. Tom McMillen has the United Auto Workers and Del. Samuel Q. Johnson most of the Eastern Shore delegation in the jockeying for endorsements in the 1st congressionaldistrict primaries.
The other candidates in the races for the Republican and Democratic nominations have no endorsements and either downplay their importance or say they are expecting to pick some up in the weeks before the election on March 3.
"I haven't gotten any, but I haven't asked for any either," said Del. John Astle, D-Annapolis, who is in a five-way race with McMillen, the Democratic incumbent in the old 4th District. Group endorsements don't carry much weight with the voters, he said.
But the endorsement of Maryland Right to Life will give Renshaw, who runs a parkinggarage business, "an active political organization" that will supplyvolunteers in her primary race against Gilchrest, the Republican in the old 1st District, according to Michael Burns, Renshaw's campaign manager.
McMillen and Gilchrest were squeezed into the same district by the General Assembly under a plan drafted last summer.
In a press release issued last week, Roger Stenson, executive director of Maryland Right to Life, called Renshaw a candidate "in touch with themain-stream values of Anne Arundel County and the Eastern Shore" whodoesn't "flip-flop or waffle."
Gilchrest has been endorsed by Republicans for Choice and the National Abortion Rights Action League, as well as by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, according to Tony Caligiuri, his administrative assistant.
Robert P. Duckworth, the Republican nominee in the 4th District two years ago, carried the anti-abortion group's endorsement then but has lost it this time. He said this week he has no other endorsements but is hoping to announce several inthe next week.
Edward F. Taylor, a teacher at Chesapeake High School in Pasadena, said he hopes to pick up the Maryland State TeachersAssociation endorsement but conceded that that nod may go to Gilchrest, a former teacher.
And Michael P. Jackson, the fifth Republicanon the ballot, apparently is out of the race.
"He went to Florida. Got a job there," explained Randall Turner, who lives at the same address on Bestgate Road in Annapolis that Jackson listed when he filed for office.
"His brother's kind of an entrepreneur there and offered him a job in a frozen seafood packing place," Turner said. "He'ssupposed to send us a post card when he gets there."
Among the Democrats, only McMillen and Johnson have received endorsements.