2nd District hopefuls vie in Arundel Redistricting brings new faces to Pasadena

November 02, 1992|By Kris Antonelli and Liz Atwood | Kris Antonelli and Liz Atwood,Staff Writers

Many Anne Arundel County residents may have been angered by the congressional redistricting that split the county into four parts. But some say one good thing came of it -- Rep. Helen D. Bentley.

Mrs. Bentley, a Baltimore County Republican, has been thrown into a new district that includes parts of Pasadena and Severna Park, as well as Baltimore and Harford counties.

"I think she'll fight for us," said Ella Rothamel, who was among 40 supporters attending an open house at a Bentley campaign office in a Mountain Road shopping center.

Mrs. Bentley and her Democratic opponent, Michael Hickey, a Harford County attorney, combed the Anne Arundel section of the new district over the weekend looking for votes and trying to convince their potential constituents they would not be left out in the cold on Capitol Hill.

"I don't want to neglect you. We respond, we don't brush off," Mrs. Bentley told the crowd.

"We haven't had that since Marjorie Holt," shouted one man, referring to the congresswoman who represented the county from 1972 to 1986.

Vivian Stockus and her husband, Ted, of Pasadena, came to the open house just to meet Mrs. Bentley.

"We like her; she's great," Mrs. Stockus said. "Several years ago, she ate lunch with my senior citizens group in the congressional dinning room. She took time out of her busy schedule to do that."

Mr. Hickey worked the community of Chesterfield Friday, knocking on doors and dropping off literature.

One man, who apparently just emerged from the shower, was wearing a towel around his waist and was in no mood to talk. Several others said they were not registered to vote in Maryland.

In most cases, however, no one was at home.

But door-to-door campaigning is necessary for someone challenging a popular incumbent such as Mrs. Bentley, even in a territory so far from his home base in Harford County, Mr. Hickey said.

"Pasadena is kind of abandoned," he conceded.

And though that slice of Anne Arundel makes up only a small portion of the 2nd District, he said, it is key to his campaign for two reasons: Democrats outnumber Republicans, and these voters are almost as unfamiliar with Mrs. Bentley as they are with him.

"Who are you running against?" asked a young woman who emerged from the house with her small son.

Another voter, Jonnie Friedman, said she has been closely following the presidential race but is unfamiliar with the congressional contest. A registered Republican, she said she wanted to study the candidates before making a decision.

On his walk through the new development of neat townhouses and single-family homes, Mr. Hickey didn't bother with policy debates. If he was lucky enough to have someone answer his knock, he introduced himself, thrust a brochure into the person's hand and exchanged pleasantries before moving on.

"Do you live around here?" one woman asked.

Well, no, Mr. Hickey answered, quickly adding that his father lives in Arnold.

In fact, most of his contact with the county has been on fishing trips or visits to his father, he said. But he said he thinks Pasadena residents are concerned about the same issues that other residents of the district are: jobs, health care, crime and the environment.

He lamented that three days before the election, many residents still have no idea who he is. "We're doing all that we can," he said. "Pasadena is a big area."

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