Ruppersberger gains two key endorsements

June 19, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

Two more important endorsements, including one from a large Dundalk-area Democratic club, have pushed County Councilman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III's campaign for Baltimore County executive ahead of three major primary rivals.

Already endorsed by the county police and teachers unions, Mr. Ruppersberger Friday night won the support of the Battle Grove Democratic Club, one of the largest clubs in the eastern county. Thursday night, he was endorsed by the Metropolitan Baltimore Council AFL-CIO, an umbrella group for about 200 local unions with more than 125,000 members.

The combination of four major endorsements has propelled Mr. Ruppersberger in front of the other Democrats even before the candidates' filing deadline of July 5.

The Battle Grove endorsement is a key one for Mr. Ruppersberger, who lives in Cockeysville, because it shows he is capable of garnering support in the heavily Democratic eastern county which this year has no favorite son in the race. He is the first Democratic executive candidate so far to demonstrate support outside his home base.

"This separates me from the rest of the group," Mr. Ruppersberger said.

It also will help dispel any notion that a polished Towson lawyer can't win support from blue-collar areas on the east side.

"We felt Dutch was the best-qualified," said Battle Grove President William A. Colburn. "He has a lot of support on the east side."

The other major executive candidates are state Sen. Nancy L. Murphy of Catonsville, retired District Judge John C. Coolahan of Halethorpe and County Councilman Melvin G. Mintz of Pikesville. Kevin Pearl of Woodlawn, a follower of Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., also is running.

A disappointed Senator Murphy, who was at the Battle Grove meeting with a large number of other candidates for several offices, said that "any endorsement" is valuable, but was critical of the process.

"I hope we just didn't see democracy in action," she said, referring to the 700-member club's practice of making its endorsements by executive board vote, not by a vote of the membership. The board approved Mr. Ruppersberger 8-1.

Raymond Brooks, chairman of the club's political action committee and also sits on the board, said the committee was created to conduct research on the candidates that individual members cannot do. About 175 members attended the endorsement meeting in North Point Village. No one publicly objected to the Ruppersberger endorsement.

The club declined to endorse Del. Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis of Dundalk for the Democratic nomination for the 2nd District congressional seat, though another vote is set in July.

The temporary no-endorsement stance was seen by some as a victory for Del. Gerry L. Brewster of Towson, because Dundalk is Mrs. DeJuliis' home area.

Both are seeking the seat being vacated by Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, who is running for governor.

Mrs. DeJuliis did win support from the AFL-CIO council. Her husband, Ron DeJuliis, is business agent for Local 37 of the International Union of Operating Engineers and on the council's executive board, council President Ernie Greco said.

Mr. Brooks said Battle Grove's political action committee split 5-4 in Mrs. DeJuliis' favor, with one person voting for no endorsement. But an official endorsement required a majority of all 10 members who voted, he said. The four-vote minority was for Mr. Brewster, Mr. Brooks said.

Battle Grove endorsed Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski for governor.

The committee's decision to endorse only one candidate, club board member Thomas Baldwin, for the three House of Delegates seats from Dundalk brought an objection from one of the candidates, club member Joseph "Sonny" Minnick. He won a promise of a reconsideration.

The AFL-CIO council endorsed Mr. Baldwin, Mr. Minnick, and former Del. William Burgess for the seats.

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