County Executive O. James Lighthizer made his only County Council endorsement of the general election campaign Thursday when he announced his support for 5th District Democrat Linda Gilligan.
Meanwhile, Lighthizer's former campaign manager, Mark Anderson, blasted outgoing Councilwoman Carole B. Baker, D-Severna Park, for attacking Republican Diane R. Evans Wednesday in a written endorsement of Gilligan.
Anderson, a Democrat, heads "Democrats for Evans." He said he worked in Baker's 1982 and 1986 campaigns and was prepared to support her this year, had she run for re-election.
"I always felt she was a highly credible person, but frankly I am ashamed and disappointed" by Baker's comments about Evans, Anderson said.
Baker, in the Gilligan endorsement, accused Evans of being "blinded" by party loyalties and of exaggerating her credentials. Evans' "claims of county and civic experience are exaggerated at best and misleading at worst," Baker said.
"I can see Carole endorsing another Democrat, but to willfully and grossly distort the facts is inexcusable," Anderson said. "Ms. Gilligan is a nice person, but her lack of relevant experience has apparently required a last-ditch disinformation campaign."
Lighthizer's endorsement makes no mention of Evans.
"During the campaign I have become tremendously impressed with Linda Gilligan," he said in a written statement. "Her poise, intelligence and background indicate to me she is one of the best candidates."
Lighthizer also cited Gilligan's background as a hospital budget director and financial administrator.
"It's a political endorsement, and that's what you expect. That's fine," Anderson said of Lighthizer's statement. Baker's, on the other hand, "was some kind of personal attack founded on no facts. (Baker) violated her own principles."
Evans, 42, is a longtime Republican activist who ran for office twice before and was prepared to face Baker before the councilwoman announced she would not seek a third term. She has a lengthy resume of civic and political activities.
Baker said she based her statement about Evans' overstating her credentials on the fact that she has never seen her at council meetings or budget hearings. Also, Baker said she was told Evans has only been nominally active in the Lower Broadneck Federation.
Gilligan, 38, is new to politics. The mother of three children, she has been active in such civic activities as the PTA and the Greater Severna Park Mothers and Toddlers Club.
Evans has said Gilligan was lured into the campaign by her brother-in-law, county executive candidate Michael F. Gilligan -- a charge Gilligan strongly denies.
Gilligan said she expected Baker's and Lighthizer's endorsements to be "a big help," but Anderson discounted them.
"Popularity is not transferrable," he said. "Endorsements by popular politicians are meaningless."