Kin of late GOP governor endorse Democrat

                    By David Nitkin
                           Sun Staff
                           Originally published July 18, 2002

                    The son and daughter-in-law of one of Maryland's few modern
                    Republican governors endorsed the Democratic gubernatorial ticket of
                    Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Charles R. Larson yesterday, agreeing
                    to lead a committee of Republicans for Townsend.

                    Theodore R. McKeldin Jr., the son of the former Baltimore mayor and
                    governor, and Courtney J. McKeldin said they accepted the Townsend
                    campaign's offer to organize a Republican group because they find the
                    lieutenant governor intelligent, articulate and compassionate. "We are
                    moderate-to-liberal Republicans," said Theodore McKeldin, an assistant
                    attorney general. "I have nothing against her opponent."

                    Courtney McKeldin said she came to know Townsend through work on
                    the Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism, and was
                    "extremely impressed."

                    The announcement underscores efforts by Townsend and her likely
                    Republican opponent, Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., to make inroads outside
                    their parties. With neither candidate facing significant primary opposition,
                    they are free to reach beyond their traditional bases for new voters.

                    Townsend surprised many when she selected Larson, a retired four-star
                    admiral, as her running mate last month. He had been registered as a
                    Republican less than three weeks before the announcement.

                    Earlier, state schools Superintendent Nancy S. Grasmick, a Democrat,
                    considered switching parties to join Ehrlich's ticket.

                    At yesterday's annual Tawes crab feast in Crisfield, Townsend called the
                    endorsement "very significant."

                    "As you know, Courtney McKeldin said I share many of the views her
                    father teached - tolerance, brotherhood and human freedom," Townsend
                    said as she was surrounded by a throng of cheering supporters. "That is
                    consistent to the kind of politics I am bringing to the state."

                    The elder McKeldin was governor from 1951 to 1959 and served as
                    Baltimore's mayor from 1943 to 1947 and again from 1963 to 1967.

                    With Democrats outnumbering Republicans nearly 2-to-1 in Maryland,
                    party crossover voting is far more crucial to Ehrlich, however, than to

                    Ehrlich campaign aide Paul E. Schurick said a similar group of Democrats
                    for Ehrlich was being organized, and its leaders would be announced in
                    several weeks.

                    "We are going to have a significant statewide coalition of Democrats for
                    Bob," Schurick said, as well as a Baltimore-area group.

                    Sun staff writer Tim Craig contributed to this article.

                    Copyright © 2002, The Baltimore Sun