Republican Nominees in the 4th

August 16, 1994

Maryland's 4th Legislative District covers rural sections of Frederick and Carroll counties, but it is beginning to bear the brunt of the sprawl that is spreading from the Baltimore and Washington urban centers. What had been a farming district that changed little from year to year is becoming increasingly suburban, and politicians are beginning to adjust their campaigns accordingly.

The most pressing issue is growth. Population densities in some of the district's Carroll and Frederick precincts, while still primarily rural, are approaching those found in Howard and Montgomery counties. Thus, many of the issues being discussed in the campaign are the same as in other Maryland suburbs -- crime, roads, school construction -- rather than those that are more closely identified with rural counties.

Members of the 4th District delegation to Annapolis will find themselves stretched between the increasing demands of the suburbanites and the declining voice of the farmers and rural residents. On some issues, such as the environment and land use, legislators may find their constituents deeply divided. Farmers who have given up tilling the land and want to sell it off for development will be arrayed against the new suburbanites who want to maintain existing open space.

The GOP primary for the district's senatorial seat is uncontested. For the past few years, Timothy R. Ferguson, a 39-year-old Westminster consultant, has been campaigning for the office. Thinking he would oppose Charles Smelser, the seven-term incumbent, Mr. Ferguson positioned himself as more conservative than Mr. Smelser, a conservative Democrat. With Mr. Smelser's decision to retire, Mr. Ferguson is left waging the same campaign against Frederick Del. George Littrell, the unopposed Democratic nominee.

The three House of Delegate seats are split between Frederick and Carroll counties. Subdistrict 4A, with two seats, is in Frederick. The single seat in subdistrict 4B is in Carroll.

Running unopposed for the Republican nomination for subdistrict 4A is two-term incumbent Donald B. Elliott, a New Windsor pharmacist.

4( Tomorrow: Republicans in District 5.

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