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Husband of Stricken Legislator Loses Bid to Gain Democratic Nomination for the Seat

April 9, 1981
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Reuben Spellman, a 71-year-old political neophyte, lost a bid yesterday to gain the Democratic nomination for the Congressional seat held by his wife, Gladys Spellman, who suffered a heart attack shortly before the elections last Nov. 4. Mrs. Spellman, 63, a four-term Congresswoman, was one of two Jewish women elected to the current Congress.

But her seat, in the Washington suburb of Prince George’s County, Md., was declared vacant by House Speaker Thomas O’Neill (D. Mass.) in February when it became clear that Mrs. Spellman would never recover from the brain damage inflicted by her heart attack last October. Despite her illness, she was re-elected by an overwhelming majority.

Reuben Spellman, who reportedly disliked politics, nevertheless decided to run for the vacant seat in order to keep it in the family. He finished second yesterday to Steny Hoyer, former head of the Prince George’s County Democratic Party in the party’s 19-candidate race.

The Republican nominee is Mayor Audrey Scott, of Bowie, Md., who defeated II other GOP candidates. The 31 candidates are believed to have been the most ever to run for a House seat. Hoyer and Scott will vie for the vacant seat in the special elections on May 19.

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