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The best for Congress The Sun's choices: Incumbents and challengers in Maryland's eight districts.


A HISTORIC RATE of turnover may be the story in Congress, with many incumbents opting out following the "revolution" of '94, but this churn isn't evident in Maryland. All but one incumbent are up for re-election -- Kweisi Mfume resigned his 7th District seat to lead the NAACP -- and many of their challengers have run before.

Last week, we announced our endorsements in the 7th for Democrat Del. Elijah E. Cummings and Republican Victor Clark. Following are our choices in Maryland's other districts:

* 1st District: Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest is by far the best Republican. Since his election in 1990, he has evolved from a Mr. Smith-type neophyte into a respected voice of reason -- and leads an influential pro-environment band of Republicans. Among Democrats, college professor Steven R. Eastaugh outshines his rivals.

* 2nd District: The Democratic primary features a race between two runners-up from 1994, Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis and Joseph J. Bish Jr. Mrs. DeJuliis, a former legislator from Dundalk, better represents traditional Democratic Party values. While we disagree with Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. over his attack on lobbying by non-profit groups, he has worked hard and has gained the respect of his fellow GOP freshmen.

* 3rd District: Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin has done a good job in Congress and merits voter support. In the Republican primary, the best candidate is radio talk show host Pat McDonough, whose conservative views would give voters a clear choice come fall.

* 4th District: Two-term Rep. Albert R. Wynn deserves renomination. Republicans have a credible candidate in Dr. Cesar Madarang, who understands health-care issues and stresses stronger links among all the ethnic groups in the diverse district.

* 5th District: Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, despite being in the minority, continues to bring home the bacon. On the Republican side, state Del. John S. Morgan, a Hopkins physicist with staunch conservate views, is our pick.

* 6th District: Though we've criticized many of Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett's steadfast ideological positions, his two Republican opponents have not waged convincing campaigns. In the Democratic primary, UM professor Stephen Crawford is the most attractive.

* 8th District: Rep. Constance A. Morella has been an effective voice for constituents and a standard bearer for embattled GOP moderates. She earns our strong endorsement. Among Democrats, the best is Donald Mooers, a lawyer with civic involvement, staff work on Capitol Hill and expertise in Eastern Europe.

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