County Republicans turned their annual Lincoln Day dinner last nightinto a celebration of the 1990 election, when the GOP had its best showing in recent memory.
Sheriff Robert Pepersack and Clerk of theCircuit Court Mary M. Rose -- surprise winners last year -- were singled out as symbols of the Republican return from the political wilderness.
They were presented with the first annual Marjorie Holt Party Builder Awards, named for the former congresswoman.
"These are the kind of people we want out there campaigning because they're the ones in touch with the voters, and the better they do, the better it reflects on the party itself," said Laura GreenTreffer, Anne Arundel CountyRepublican Central Committee chairwoman.
Pepersack won more votesthan any candidate for any office in the county last year, upsettingSheriff William R. Huggins, 75, a seven-term Democratic institution.
Treffer, who succeeded Rose as GOP chairwoman, praised her predecessor for restoring peace to a party that was beset by divisions between born-again Christian activists and traditional Republicans.
"She didn't have a personal agenda," Treffer said. "Her agenda was working for the party. She went out and recruited candidates and ran for office herself and won."
Keynote speaker Representative Guy VanderJagt, R-Mich., praised the accomplishments of local Republicans. More than 500 people attended the sold-out event at the BWI Marriott Hotel.
Other GOP winners from last year included County Executive Robert R. Neall and Diane Evans and Carl "Dutch" Holland, the first Republicans elected to the County Council since the early days of chartergovernment.
The evening was also billed as a tribute to the party's past, with the new awards named for Holt and the late Dr. Aris T. Allen, who won re-election to the state House of Delegates after a decade's absence.
The Holt award recognizes her efforts to keep the GOP alive in thecounty during a period when it had little electoral success.
Holt, grand dame of county Republicans, served in Congressfrom 1974, when the 4th District was created, until she retired in 1986.
The Aris T. Allen Lifetime Achievement Award was dedicated posthumously to his 50-year career breaking down racial barriers in politics and the medical profession.
His widow, Dr. Faye Allen, accepted the award.
Allen was the only black Republican in the General Assembly when he shocked the county by committing suicide. He was 80 and had just learned that he had inoperable cancer.
But local Republicans agreedthat Allen should be remembered not for how he died butas a model for how to live.
"They say a person is often judged bythe life he or she lives. I think my father lived a life of honor," said his son, Aris T. Allen Jr.
He listed his father's accomplishments, from physician to legislator to presidential appointee. But, heconcluded, he will be remembered most as "a caring person who servedhis community."
Other award winners included Man of the Year Larry Vincent, an Annapolis Republican Central Committee member who ran for mayor in 1989; Woman of the Year Janet Greenip, president of the Maryland Federation of Republican Women; and Young Republican Douglas Arnold, elected last year to the county central committee.