Gouge enters race for state delegate

April 15, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County Commissioner Julia W. Gouge ended months of speculation yesterday by saying she will run for a state delegate seat in elections later this year.

The Hampstead area resident is the sixth Republican to announce in the District 5 race.

Westminster attorney Francis X. Walsh Jr., who ran for the

House and Senate in past years as a Democrat, also said yesterday that he is likely to enter the race as a Republican.

He said he is not ready to announce his candidacy, but said his supporters have established a fund-raising committee.

Three Democrats have announced they will run for the seat.

Mrs. Gouge, who is in her second term as county commissioner, said she decided it was a good time to run for delegate because Carroll will have a third seat beginning next year.

As the result of redistricting in 1991 that takes effect in this year's election, the 5th District will no longer include part of Baltimore County and will not be divided into subdistricts 5A and 5B.

Carroll Dels. Richard N. Dixon, a Democrat, and Richard C. Matthews, a Republican, have said they will seek re-election.

Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte, who represents Carroll and Baltimore counties, will run for a seat in District 11, which will be contained in Baltimore County.

Mrs. Gouge, 53, said she will make a formal announcement of her candidacy in six to eight weeks. She said the experience she gained in two terms as a county commissioner would be valuable in Annapolis.

"It does help to understand how towns and counties have to operate," Mrs. Gouge said.

This year, she is president of the Maryland Association of Counties, a group that lobbies in Annapolis on legislation that affects counties.

She also is chairwoman of the Local Government Insurance Trust, a nonprofit group that helps local governments save money on insurance costs.

Mrs. Gouge has held public office since 1979, when she was elected to the Hampstead Town Council. In 1983, she was elected mayor.

In 1986, she was elected county commissioner. She came in third in a field of six candidates with about 12,500 votes.

In 1990, she was re-elected as commissioner, placing third behind Donald I. Dell and Elmer C. Lippy with about 15,000 votes.

"It's going to be a lot of work," Mrs. Gouge said about the delegate race. "It's a new territory, but it's part of the old one."

Mr. Walsh, 55, said he switched to the Republican Party last year.

"I've always been a conservative," he said. "The Democratic Party was becoming more and more liberal. I feel more comfortable in the Republican Party."

In 1990, Mr. Walsh lost in the primary to former Carroll Commissioner Jeff Griffith in the race for the District 5 state Senate seat. Mr. Walsh lost by 1,652 votes, 4,971 to 3,319.

In 1986, Mr. Walsh ran for a District 5A delegate seat and advanced to the general election, where he lost to Mr. Dixon and Mr. Matthews. Mr. Walsh received 7,207 votes.

In 1982, Mr. Walsh also ran for a District 5A delegate seat. He placed third in the primary behind Mr. Dixon and John T. Willis. He received 2,211 votes.

Other announced candidates for the three District 5 delegate seats are:

* Democrats -- Philip R. Deitchman of Eldersburg and Ellen L. Willis of Westminster.

* Republicans -- W. David Blair of Manchester, Jerome J. Joyce of Hampstead, Joseph H. Mettle of Eldersburg and Nancy R. Stocksdale of Westminster.

( The primary is Sept. 13.

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