15 scramble for votes in new House district CAMPAIGN 1994

August 24, 1994|By Robert A. Erlandson | Robert A. Erlandson,Sun Staff Writer

Baltimore County's new 11th Legislative District is having a real free-for-all as 15 candidates -- eight Democrats and seven Republicans -- battle for party nominations for the three House of Delegates seats.

Most of the hopefuls are eager first-timers hoping to strike political gold in the Sept. 13 primary.

Maryland Republicans often lament Democratic domination of the voter rolls, but the two-party system is alive and well in the new district. Because the district is new and so many are running, veteran politicians say it's anyone's guess whom the voters will favor in the primary. But the well-contested primary ensures an equally hot general election Nov. 8.

Everything is up for grabs as the candidates campaign frantically to win name recognition.

The 11th sprawls across western and northwestern Baltimore County, from Howard County around to Pikesville and north through Owings Mills to Carroll County and to parts of Timonium on the east.

Most of the candidates say voters express the same basic concerns -- money, crime and education -- although not necessarily in that order, depending on where they campaign. Some said the state budget deficit and reforms of the welfare, juvenile justice and court systems also will be priority issues in the legislature.

Two veteran Pikesville area delegates, Democrats Richard Rynd and Theodore Levin, who have represented the old 11th District for years, are running to stay in Annapolis. But this time find

themselves fighting for their political lives.

No slates

It's an every-candidate-for-himself race with no slates, said Mr. Levin, a lawyer who joined the General Assembly in 1974. "With the new district and new faces, we have enough to do going from door to door," he said. "It's a whole new ballgame."

Like Mr. Levin, Mr. Rynd, a businessman who served in the House from 1967 to 1975 and returned in 1986, said he is waging an old-fashioned shoe-leather campaign to become known in those areas of the new district added in the redistricting.

"I estimate that about 60 percent of the district is new," he said. "It is a tough race for me because the district is so large and spread out. It's one of the largest."

Mr. Rynd, co-chairman of the General Assembly's spending affordability committee, said the transcendent issue for the new governor and legislature will be the budget deficit, which he estimated at $300 million this year and possibly rising to $1.1 billion within four years.

Mr. Rynd said he expects to see more Republicans and conservative Democrats in the legislature who will not allow the next governor to launch dramatic spending programs.

The delegate supports Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg for governor and his barb was aimed at Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening, another Democratic gubernatorial candidate, who reportedly has promised hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to local subdivisions if he is elected.

"I don't know how a person . . . could be giving away money now to subdivisions to gain votes," Mr. Rynd said. "The state will never be able to pay it and the legislature simply wouldn't allow it."

The new 11th was created in the redistricting stemming from population changes in the 1990 Census and court decisions requiring more black representation.

Democrats outnumber GOP

Democrats outnumber Republicans more than 2-to-1 in the district but its bipartisan history throws the whole thing up for grabs this time in the view of experienced politicians.

Among the most active candidates is Dr. Dan Morhaim, 45, of Owings Mills, an emergency-room physician who managed the last campaign of Democratic Del. Lawrence A. LaMotte.

When Mr. LaMotte did not seek re-election, Dr. Morhaim, a member of the Democratic State Central Committee, decided to run himself. He was won numerous endorsements from public employee unions and the Metropolitan Baltimore Council of AFL-CIO Unions.

Among Republicans, two active candidates are Michael Buchanan, 39, a Reisterstown chemist who says he has knocked on more than 14,000 doors, and Tyrone D. Bullock Sr. of Owings Mills, a counselor and track coach at Randallstown High School.

Mr. Bullock said a black man running as a Republican may be unusual but, "I do not fit into traditional stereotypes. I've been able to achieve things that lots of my peers have not. Most black people in the state register Democrat. The system suffers when too many of one group votes the same way."

Kevin Kamenetz, chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee, said he sees "a very exciting race with many qualified candidates" from both parties. Because the district is new and so large, the winners undoubtedly will be the candidates who earn the most name recognition, he said.

Vigorous campaigning

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