GOP activist William Frank enters race for Bentley's 2nd District seat

March 24, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Republican William J. Frank, a 34-year-old bank vice president with deep roots in the party and a deep dislike for the federal deficit, promises to make the 2nd District congressional campaign a lively one as he launches his bid tonight to win the seat occupied by Rep. Helen Delich Bentley.

Although he has never run for office, the Rodgers Forge resident is a longtime activist who said he intends to provide spirited competition for Del. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., the only other Republican and the early favorite to succeed Mrs. Bentley, who is running for governor.

Other prominent Republicans agree that a lively primary will help GOP chances in November.

"It's a good situation for the party to have two people running for that seat," said Kent Swanson, Baltimore County Republican Party chairman.

Towson County Councilman Douglas B. Riley agreed, saying primary contests will help boost Republican registration and strengthen the party.

Defeating Mr. Ehrlich, a two-term delegate with wide name recognition, won't be easy, Mr. Frank said. But he is not without resources.

Some of those resources will be on display tonight at a fund-raiser at which Margaret M. Heckler, the former Massachusetts congresswoman and secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan, will be the main speaker.

An hour in close company with Mrs. Heckler -- a director of the First National Bank in Baltimore where Mr. Frank works -- will cost donors $300. Other guests will pay $60 for a ticket to the general reception.

Mr. Frank is Baltimore coordinator of the Concord Coalition, a private group founded by former U.S. Sens. Warren B. Rudman and Paul E. Tsongas to work for a balanced federal budget. He said he hopes to raise $200,000 for the primary campaign.

The federal budget is Mr. Frank's main issue, and he argues that as a businessman, he is better qualified to deal with the problem than Mr. Ehrlich or Mr. Ehrlich's fellow delegate, Gerry L. Brewster, a Towson Democrat who also is seeking the seat.

"We need a fresh perspective. There are too many lawyers in office now," he said, adding, "I offer a better contrast to Gerry Brewster" than Mr. Ehrlich does.

To eliminate the federal deficit and balance the budget by 2000, Mr. Frank said federal entitlement programs that provide benefits to people with annual incomes of more than $40,000 will have to be trimmed.

Mr. Frank said he considers himself an "old-fashioned conservative Republican," though he favored the Brady Bill, which mandates a waiting period for handgun buyers. He would outlaw AK-47 machine guns, and he said he favors the availability of abortion for victims of rape or incest or in cases that threaten a woman's life.

A Republican activist who has worked on campaigns since his days at Archbishop Curley High School, Mr. Frank was until recently an alternate Republican member of the county Board of Election Supervisors. He graduated from Mount St. Mary's College in 1982 and received a master's degree in administrative science in 1992. He and his wife have two young daughters, and he has worked for First National Bank since 1989.

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