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Election Digest


Small-business group gives endorsement to Ehrlich

WHEATON - An organization that represents 4,000 Maryland small-business owners endorsed Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday over Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend in the race for governor.

The National Federation of Independent Business announced the endorsement during a rally attended by Ehrlich and his running mate, Michael S. Steele.

The group said it supports Ehrlich because of his pro-business voting record in Congress. The NFIB has given Ehrlich a 90 percent ranking for his votes on issues important to its members. Ehrlich pledged that small-business owners would "have a seat at the table" in an Ehrlich administration.

Second Townsend ad emphasizes education

Democrat Kathleen Kennedy Townsend began airing her second television commercial yesterday in the race for governor, a 30-second spot that emphasizes education issues.

The ad mentions Townsend's position from 1987 to 1993 as director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance in the state education department, where she helped create a community service graduation requirement. As governor, the ad says, she would invest more in early childhood education and push for character education in all schools.

Montgomery traffic woes focus of 8th District debate

WASHINGTON - Montgomery County's transportation woes came up often yesterday in a debate featuring the candidates in the 8th Congressional District Democratic primary.

Former Clinton administration trade negotiator Ira Shapiro suggested that rivals Mark K. Shriver and Christopher Van Hollen Jr., both state legislators, had been slow to address traffic congestion troubling the district.

Specifically, Shapiro pointed to a 1998 letter signed by Shriver, along with more than a dozen other lawmakers, backing Gov. Parris N. Glendening's decision to block the proposed Intercounty Connector by killing an environmental study.

Shriver countered that he voted for the ICC three times while in Annapolis.

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