GOP hopeful enters 5th District race Blair is 1st entry in 1994 campaign

September 10, 1993|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Staff Writer

The race for three 5th District delegate seats in Carroll took off last night when a Manchester Republican announced that he will run.

W. David Blair, 44, of the 2400 block of Mount Ventus Road, is the first to officially enter the 1994 General Assembly race, but members of both parties say they expect a crowded field.

Republican Joseph H. Mettle, 59, of Eldersburg, said yesterday that he will run but won't officially announce his candidacy until April. Mr. Mettle ran for a seat in 1990 and came in last in the general election.

Incumbents Richard N. Dixon, a Westminster Democrat, and Richard C. Matthews, a Hampstead Republican, both said yesterday that they will run again.

Party officials expect a large number of candidates because the county will have a new seat in the 5th District as a result of redistricting in 1991.

Carroll residents now are represented by delegates in three districts -- one from 4B, which included part of Howard County; two from 5A, which was entirely in Carroll; and one from 5B, which included part of Baltimore County.

With redistricting, the county gains a third delegate in District 5A, and District 5B no longer contains part of Carroll.

Democrat Lawrence A. LaMotte represents District 5B, and Republican Donald B. Elliott represents 4B.

"Any time you have a new seat in a district, you have a lot of candidates," said Mr. Dixon, a House member since 1983.

Mr. Matthews has been a delegate since 1967.

In the September 1994 primary, the top three vote-getters from each party will advance to the November general election. In the general election, the top three vote-getters will be elected to the House of Delegates.

"It's going to be a wide-open race," Mr. Mettle said.

Carroll Commissioner Julia W. Gouge, a Hampstead Republican, said yesterday that she is considering running for the new seat.

"I haven't decided at this point. I'm leaving all the options open and will for a time yet," said Mrs. Gouge, who is serving her second term as commissioner. She previously was mayor of Hampstead.

"I'm listening to everybody talking and seeing what everybody's planning to do," she said.

Democrat Ellen Leahy Willis of Westminster also is considering getting into the race, according to L. Gregory Pecoraro, chairman of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee.

Ms. Willis was out of town yesterday and could not be reached for comment.

She ran in 1990 and came in third behind Mr. Dixon and Mr. Matthews.

"She did very well four years ago. She's somebody we expect to be a strong candidate," Mr. Pecoraro said.

Mr. Blair, president of the Carroll County Republican Club, announced his candidacy last night at the Kountry Kafe in Westminster. About 35 people attended the reception.

State government is "at risk of becoming a modern-day dinosaur" because it refuses to adapt, he said.

"Not more, not less, but better government is what we need. I want to help make the changes that are necessary happen," Mr. Blair said.

He said his top priorities are stopping tax increases, improving schools and reducing crime through mandatory sentences for violent and repeat offenders.

"I think he'll make a fantastic candidate. He knows what's going on in the county," said Thomas W. Bowen, chairman of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.

Mr. Blair is a senior engineer at Bell Atlantic Network Services in Silver Spring. He is a native of Monongahela, Pa., and has been a Carroll resident since 1975.

In 1990, Mr. Blair was campaign treasurer for Republican Central Committee candidates and a volunteer for the campaigns of state Sen. Larry E. Haines and State's Attorney Thomas E. Hickman.

Last year, he volunteered in the campaigns of Roscoe G. Bartlett, who was elected to the 6th District U.S. House seat, and George Bush.

Mr. Blair is a member of the National Guard and is a deacon and Sunday school teacher at Westminster Baptist Church. He has been married to the former Barbara Brewer for 23 years. They have two children, Jonathan, 20, and Valerie, 18.

Mr. Mettle, a retired federal government engineer, is a former member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee. He is chairman of the Linton Springs Community Association in South Carroll.

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