McCabe, citing independence, says he'll run again

May 20, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

Republican state Sen. Christopher J. McCabe, emphasizing his legislative roles as an independent voice who doesn't accept political action committee contributions and an advocate of government reform, announced his re-election bid last night.

Mr. McCabe said he believed voters in the 14th District sent him to Annapolis in 1990 for several reasons.

"I'm an independent thinker who makes up his own mind, and I think people wanted to see someone in government with signs of integrity, to be in public service for all the right reasons," Mr. McCabe told supporters, other Republican legislators and candidates at the Oakland community center in Columbia.

Maryland Senate Minority Leader John A. Cade, an Anne Arundel County Republican, said Mr. McCabe has "tremendous potential for leadership" and set an example for first-term legislators.

"I don't know if you know how hard it is to survive as a Republican" in the Democrat-dominated Senate, Mr. Cade said.

"Republicans must work harder and work smarter to earn the respect of members of the majority. Chris came in and worked harder and worked smarter and earned the respect of fellow senators."

Mr. McCabe has shown the courage to challenge legislative leaders when he is uncertain of the need for a bill or its purpose, Mr. Cade said.

"We need new blood on a periodic basis to lead us toward idealism, which Chris has, and a questioning attitude, which Chris has," he said.

Mr. McCabe, 38, a development officer for the Johns Hopkins Hospital and School of Medicine, said the General Assembly didn't take advantage of opportunities to restructure government and re-evaluate services to improve efficiency during his first term as it struggled to adjust to a declining economy. Instead, accounts were juggled, fees were raised and reliance on gambling to raise revenue increased, he said.

"We need bold decisions to change the face of government," said Mr. McCabe, an Ellicott City resident.

Democratic challenger James P. Mundy said in an interview Wednesday that Mr. McCabe hasn't been bold enough. Mr. Mundy charged that the senator has been "invisible" in Annapolis and that he has opposed some reforms without offering alternatives.

"We have to have people who can stand up and be counted. He doesn't count," said Mr. Mundy, a Glenelg High School government and political science teacher.

District 14 includes much of Ellicott City, portions of West Columbia, western Howard County and northeastern Montgomery County.

Mr. McCabe finds himself in unfamiliar territory as an incumbent defending his record. As a challenger in the previous two elections, he criticized former Democratic Sen. Edward Kasemeyer for accepting contributions from political action committees (PACS). Mr. McCabe lost to Mr. Kasemeyer in 1986 by about 2,900 votes, then defeated him in 1990 by about 1,000 votes.

Now Mr. Mundy is combing Mr. McCabe's record for what he views as shortcomings. Mr. McCabe said he expects rough treatment.

"There will be political opponents who focus on a particular vote and try to accuse me of doing the wrong thing without knowing the complete circumstances," Mr. McCabe said in an interview last night.

Earlier this month, Mr. Mundy, a 20-year educator who has been selected Glenelg High's Teacher of the Year four consecutive years, received endorsements from the Howard County Education Association and the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police.

"We feel if [Mr. Mundy] is elected, he'll represent the constituents in a unique way to ensure that quality education becomes a high priority for the entire state," said Jim Swab, president of the 2,800-member Howard County Education Association.

Mr. Swab said that Mr. McCabe's record "is not distinguished in support of public education" but that he willingly meets with and listens to educators and parents.

Mr. McCabe stressed in the interview his work toward adoption reforms and ethics in government. "Lobbyists have too much influence in the process," he said. "I don't blame them. Frankly, I blame legislators. We're responsible to constituents."

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