By David Nitkin
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
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
"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