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Bartlett and Crawford in the 6th Primary endorsements: Incumbent hasn't impressed, but party opposition is weak.


DESPITE TWO terms in Congress, where he should have received an inkling of the complex nature of the country's economic and social problems, Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett remains steadfast in his simple-minded ideological beliefs.

Unfortunately, most of them fail to address the pressing problems of the nation and many of his constituents in a district that stretches from the well-off suburbs of Howard County to the hard-pressed Appalachian towns in Western Maryland. Even more unfortunate is the fact that a capable and sensible candidate has not emerged to challenge him in the Republican primary.

On subjects from welfare reform to environmental protection, Mr. Bartlett's prescription is to remove federal government participation altogether. However, his primary opponents -- John J. Kubricky and Frederic Parker -- have failed to mount credible campaigns.

Four candidates are running for the Democratic nomination -- Don Allensworth, Stephen Crawford, David P. Koontz and David L. Osmundson. All four have gone to great lengths to differentiate themselves from Mr. Bartlett, rather than from each other.

Mr. Allensworth, a former college professor and unsuccessful candidate for the 1994 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, has waged a low-profile campaign similar to his campaign for governor. Mr. Koontz, a gay Frederick advertising executive, is attempting to appeal to voters who are dissatisfied with conservative Republican policies on homosexuals, women and minorities. A retired National Security Agency employee, Mr. Osmundson has waged a low-budget effort emphasizing that trimming government spending should be done sensibly.

Mr. Crawford, a public policy lecturer at the University of Maryland who lost the Democratic nomination to Paul Muldowney two years ago, hopes to prevail this time. He has attracted mainstream party support and financing. Although he has not held elective office, Mr. Crawford has a good understanding of complex issues and has taken reasonable positions on issues from gun control to crime prevention.

In the 6th District primary, The Sun endorses Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett for the Republican nomination and Stephen Crawford for the Democrats.

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