Joe Bish, one of the lesser known five, yearning to stage a 2nd District upset

August 18, 1994|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Sun Staff Writer

Joe Bish has it figured out.

The 37-year-old Bel Air resident, running as a Democrat for Congress in the 2nd Congressional District, believes that Dels. Gerry L. Brewster and Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis -- the two leading Democratic candidates -- will split the union and pro-abortion rights vote, giving him a chance to win the primary.

"I know they've got the money, but you never know," said Mr. Bish, an analyst with Westinghouse Electric Corp. and one of five relatively unknown candidates -- four Democrats and one Republican -- running in the district.

While none of the lesser-known candidates has the money or political backing of Democrats Brewster and DeJuliis or Republicans Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Bill Frank, each has hope.

Mr. Bish also ran as a Democrat in 1992, collecting 8,727 votes in the primary and finishing third.

"They [Mrs. DeJuliis and Mr. Brewster] both stand for the same things," said Mr. Bish, referring to his opponents' pro-choice, pro-labor positions. "I'm pro-business, I'm pro-life, I'm pro-gun. If they split the union vote, and they split the pro-choice vote, you never know.

"I'm not dead out here yet."

Most of the lesser-known five are running on conservative issues.

For instance, James Edward DeLoach, 29, a White Marsh businessman, is an anti-abortion, anti-gun control candidate who says the U.S. should curtail foreign aid and military intervention overseas.

"I believe that most of the money should stay in our own country," he said. "I believe we need to keep our troops out of other countries."

Mr. DeLoach, who also ran in 1992 and finished second in the Democratic primary with 11,884 votes, said favors term limits and said government should be run as a business to make a profit.

Hunter Epperson, 63, a former union official and steel worker who owns and operates a 7-Eleven convenience store in Dundalk, said he is running for Congress to stop sending money overseas, while halting the flow of immigrants into the U.S.

"I'm just tired of the way the country is being run," he said. "They're giving the country away."

Mr. Epperson said his main campaign has been distributing bumper stickers with the slogan, "Save America. Stop foreign aid. If you need foreign aid, we don't need you."

Kauko H. Kokkonen, 56, of Towson, a Mass Transit Administration station supervisor and longtime men's rights advocate, said if elected he would focus on tort reform such as medical malpractice, product liability and personal injury.

Mr. Kokkonen, who immigrated from Finland in 1959 and served in the U.S. Army, has been active in Democratic politics for years.

With no campaign money to spend, he said, he gets his views out by calling radio talk shows and by writing letters to editors.

Of the lesser-known hopefuls, only one is a Republican. John Michael Fleig, 28, of Rosedale, a self-proclaimed "political hell-raiser," does data entry and catering for Martin's West in Woodlawn. He said he's against abortion and gun control and for term limits, a balanced budget amendment, a line-item veto for the president and welfare reform.

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