'Demo' the inflatable dinosaur aids Priola's roadside campaign

July 05, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Sun Staff Writer

Former state Del. John Leopold, who made his political reputation waving to motorists from the roadside, may have met his match in Ed Priola.

The candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 32 doesn't just stand along the road and wave. He stands next to a 5-foot tall, inflatable dinosaur and waves.

It's a gimmick designed to "inject a little humor" into the campaign, Mr. Priola says, but he adds there is method to this madness.

Look more closely at the roadside display, and you'll see the "No Dinosaurs" sign held by Mr. Priola's prehistoric sidekick, which he has nicknamed, Demo. That's Demo as in Democrats; Mr. Priola is a Republican.

"It's been an ice age since . . . a bunch of old [and Democratic] dinosaurs grabbed control of our state," said Mr. Priola, who was campaigning at the corner of Ridge and Dorsey roads Thursday.

The district includes Linthicum, Glen Burnie, Severn and Jessup.

Mr. Priola, the former national field director for U.S. Term Limits, which seeks to cap the number of years that can be spent in Congress, is making term limits for state legislators a centerpiece of his campaign.

"It seemed like the idea of a dinosaur sewed up our campaign nicely," he said.

Making his first run for political office, Mr. Priola is no stranger to campaigning. As a professional political organizer, he has frequent flier miles to Alaska, Illinois, Maine, Utah, Nevada, Mississippi and Missouri.

He got the idea for Demo, who also appears with him in a 30-second television spot on Jones Intercable, from an exhibition on the Jurassic era he saw at a St. Louis mall.

Ho-hum, says state Sen. Michael J. Wagner, District 32's chief dinosaur."Oh man, how boring," he said when asked about Mr. Priola's stunt. "B-o-r-i-n-g."

After thinking about it for a minute, Mr. Wagner, who is seeking his fourth four-year term, was insulted at being portrayed as prehistoric.

"I think I'm a young 52," he said.

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