Outgoing 5th District Councilwoman Carole B. Baker endorsed Democrat Linda Gilligan as her successor Wednesday and accused Gilligan's opponent, Diane R. Evans, of overstating her credentials and being "blinded" by party loyalty.
Baker's written endorsement contrasts Gilligan's non-political, community background with Evans' long-standing Republican activism.
"Unlike her opponent, (Gilligan) will not be blinded by party labels or dogma but will act independently to serve the people," Baker said.
Evans, however, countered yesterday that Baker's endorsement shows Gilligan is the one playing political games. And the head of the county GOP labeled Baker's harsh criticism of Evans as part of an effort to paint Republicans as cutthroats in this year's election.
"Diane is such a sweet person," Mary Rose, chairman of Anne Arundel's Republican Central Committee, said. "She appears intense because she's worked so hard to build up her reputation. It's so unfair that somebody who has a softer voice or who happens to have children could take that away from her."
Baker also said Evans' county and civic experience is "exaggerated at best and misleading at worst."
Gilligan, a political newcomer and former hospital budget director, is best known in Severna Park for her work with the local PTA and community groups such as the Greater Severna Park Mothers and Toddlers Club.
Evans' resume includes experience with the Severn River Association, the YMCA, Scholarships for Scholars, the Lower Broadneck Federation and other groups. She has served on a county-appointed growth-management committee and worked to change council elections from countywide to district contests.
"This proves my opponent is the true politician," Evans said of Baker's endorsement.
Gilligan entered the race as a "power play" by her brother-in-law, county executive candidate Michael F. Gilligan, and Baker, Evans said.
"It was a power ploy to preserve the free-spending habits of her mentors," she said.
Baker's endorsement highlights the differences between the two women's family backgrounds and implies that Evans is motivated by political ambition rather than civic concern.
"The residents of District 5 are used to a representative who has been involved on a day-to-day basis . . . not just on a quadrennial basis whenever an election is upon us," Baker wrote. "Mrs. Gilligan experiences daily the issues faced by every parent of every child in the 5th District."
Gilligan, 38, is married with three children, ages 3, 6 and 13. Evans, 42, is married with no children.
Evans has run for office twice before and is known as a hard-working, devoted Republican. She was prepared to run against Baker before the councilwoman announced she would not seek a third term.
County GOP head Rose said Evans, like other Republicans, has become embroiled in what she calls the "Nice Guy" syndrome.
The Democrats are trying to win votes by painting their candidates as nice, family oriented people and the Republicans as hard-driving politicians, Rose said.
"The hard-driving Republican label is something Miss Evans put on herself," Baker countered in a telephone interview. "Frankly, I don't think anything excuses that kind of demeanor."