A Passel of Politician Manques

August 27, 1994|By ANTERO PIETILA

A mad scramble has developed for the City Council seat of Perry Sfikas, who is likely to win the Sept. 13 Democratic primary for state Senate from East Baltimore's 46th District.

As a courtesy, the area's two other councilmen first offered the expected vacancy to Mr. Sfikas' father. He declined.

They then approached former Third District Councilman Jody Landers. But he did not want to leave his home in Hamilton and move to the district.

There is no shortage of people wanting the $29,000-a-year job, however. Some 30 have so far contacted Councilmen Nick D'Adamo and John Cain about the post which would provide the advantage of a brief incumbency for next year's city election.

Mr. D'Adamo has quietly let it be known that American Joe Miedusiewski might get the seat if the state senator loses his gubernatorial bid. The same message has gone to Brian K. McHale, should the Locust Point resident fail in his re-election bid to the House of Delegates.

Then there is Councilman Mike Curran.

The Third District Democrat is engaged to marry a woman from the First District and might be interested. Mr. Curran himself denies it, saying, ''I thought about it but I've decided to stay in the Third.''

This still leaves a couple of dozen people jockeying for the seat, including Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's candidate, zoning board member Gia Blatterman, and Kelley Ray.

Kelley Ray?

She is one of the most impressive newcomers on Baltimore City's political scene this year. The environmental and housing activist from Belair-Edison may not have enough name recognition to win a delegate's seat in the 45th District but some observers think she has a shot for the City Council next year.

Councilman Cain has been pushing Ms. Ray, 32, for the Sfikas seat. But Councilman D'Adamo is not wild about her. He feels Ms. Ray would not bring enough strength to the incumbents' re-election effort next year.

''The person I want has to be qualified, have name recognition throughout the district and be able to raise money for next year's effort,'' he said.

NTC The councilmen are planning a large community meeting to screen various applicants.

''There are so many people who want it,'' Mr. Cain explained. ''Many in my opinion are not particularly qualified. It's difficult for me to say 'no.' It's better to have other people tell them that.''

As the case of Kelley Ray illustrates, political power brokers are scouting new talent.

In its House of Delegates endorsements, The Sun supported first-timers Verna Jones and John E. Hannay (both of 44th District), Peter A. Hammen (46th) and Randy Collins (47A), all of whom were deemed both deserving of and having a chance to win.

But there are several other first-timers who show promise, even though they may not be able to win this time. One is Emmanuel S. Holmes, 34, a tenant organizer from Gardenville who is running for delegate in the 45th District. Numerous others are running for Democratic or Republican central committees.

Some Central Committee candidates are getting their names out in preparation for next year's City Council elections. Environmental activist Daniel Jerrems represents such a case.

Others -- like attorney Jon Laria -- just want to be involved and promote their party's viability.

''I honestly don't have any particular ambition to run for any office,'' Mr. Laria said.

There will be some winners Sept. 13. But most candidates are fated to lose. If they are true political junkies, they will be back in another year, knocking on doors. They know that in politics persistence pays.

In fact, few of those who are bitten by the political bug can walk off and be happy. One such rare case is Thomas J. D'Alesandro III. He called it quits after one term as mayor of Baltimore and never looked back.

Almost as remarkable is the case of George E. Brent. An effective trouble shooter for City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, Mr. Brent nearly won a City Council seat three years ago. But despite lots of lobbying to try for a delegate, he said no.

''It's not for me,'' he explained of the toll hard campaigning takes.

Yet Mr. Brent cannot let go altogether. He is a candidate for the Democratic Central Committee.

G; Antero Pietila writes editorials for The Baltimore Sun.

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