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October 28, 2008

Mathias, Republican former senator, backs Obama

Charles McC. Mathias Jr., Maryland’s last Republican U.S. senator, has announced his support for Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

“I believe that Obama's inspirational leadership, contemplative nature and well-reasoned, forward-looking policies offer our troubled nation a real opportunity to face and overcome its many challenges at home and abroad,” Mathias writes in an op-ed piece in today’s Washington Post.

“On an array of domestic issues, including health care, education, tax policy, the environment and alternative energy sources, Obama promises a clean break from the recent past and tangible hope for a return to fiscal responsibility, economic security and true environmental stewardship …

“On the international front, his thoughtful and responsible approach to extricating our troops from Iraq, reallocating our finite resources elsewhere in the war on terrorism, and reviving effective use of our diplomatic corps all warrant our support.”

Mathias, who served in Congress from 1961 to 1986, notes his family’s long involvement with the Republican Party, dating to a great-grandfather’s run for the state Senate on the 1860 ticket headed by Abraham Lincoln, and including his own, constituency-defiying support of Barry Goldwater in 1964. And he says he knew Republican nominee John McCain before McCain was elected to the House in 1982.

“For me, the decision on who should be the next president transcends private friendship or political affiliation,” he writes. “My decision is based on the long-range needs of our country and which of these two candidates I feel is better suited to recharge America's economic health, restore its prestige abroad and inspire anew all people who cherish freedom and equality. For me, that person is Barack Obama.”

Posted by Matthew Hay Brown at 12:21 PM | | Comments (1)


Mathias was never much of a Republican when he held office and has not gotten any better in his retirement.

His nominal party registration was a product of geography rather than ideology.

He has not changed much over the years.

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Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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