Is Arnick truly forgiven? 7th District race is key CAMPAIGN 1994

August 28, 1994|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,Sun Staff Writer

This is the year to see if Dundalk truly forgives Del. John Arnick or tosses him out on his ear in the rough-and-tumble 7th Legislative District.

Eleven other Democratic hopefuls, including some new faces, are competing in the sweepstakes for the three House of Delegates seats in the Sept. 13 primary.

Mr. Arnick, who was the object of a raging controversy for alleged sexist remarks last year, is the only incumbent. The contenders are an eclectic bunch of candidates who bring fresh views and strategies to the campaign trail in Dundalk, a Democratic area where leaders try to keep younger residents from moving to outlying suburbs.

All are aiming at Mr. Arnick, who won re-election in 1990 by only six votes and then lost a judgeship after being accused of making sexist remarks to a female lobbyist for the House of Ruth during dinner in Annapolis.

"I feel good, confident . . . ," Mr. Arnick said recently.

He was elected to the House in 1967 and served as majority leader through the 1970s. He also chaired two committees.

He gave up his old seat when Gov. William Donald Schaefer appointed him to a District Court judgeship late in 1992 but withdrew from the nomination last year after the accusations. He returned to the House in September after the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee appointed him to replace Del. Edward G. "Nipper" Schaefer, who died of a heart attack.

Incumbent Sen. Norman Stone, who is running for re-election, has endorsed Mr. Arnick. "John has a lot of friends in Dundalk," Mr. Stone said. "Many feel enough is enough. But at the same time, that doesn't mean that the people who did not like him because of the controversy still do not like him today."

The threat to Mr. Arnick is magnified because the sizable field probably will split the Democratic vote for the three House seats.

Among leading candidates are James McKinney, a former aide to County Executive Roger B. Hayden with the reputation as a problem solver; Anthony Narutowicz, a liquor store owner; Joseph Minnick, a local merchant; Jacob J. Mohorovic, a familiar name in Eastside political circles; and Thomas A. Baldwin and William C. Batton.

Other Democrats are Guy Ruscito, former Del. William J. Burgess, John Dabrowski, John L. Grumbach and Nancy Leiter.

Like many residents of eastern county, Mr. Narutowicz, a North Point liquor store proprietor, is concerned about crime. Unlike most, he knows the issue up close.

In June, he and his business partner were involved in a shootout with two armed men who tried to rob him outside a Dundalk bank during a night deposit run.

Mr. Narutowicz started shooting at the robbers. They shot back but escaped.

"I cash checks at my place, so we had some paper money," he said. "Two of them was waiting for me and my brother-in-law, who is in business with me. They thought we'd raise our hands, but we gave them a dose of their own medicine. We were prepared.

"I emptied my gun. I think I got one of them, maybe both. There was lots of blood in their van. We had .38 snub noses, they had .45s. . . . Thank God they were bad shots."

Mr. Narutowicz said he favors the death penalty for major felony convictions.

In the Republican primary, Jacqueline W. Madison, executive secretary for the Baltimore County Licensed Beverage Association, and Robert J. Parsons are unopposed for the three House seats.

On the Senate side of the 7th District, the primary has not been as lively. Two Democrats, including incumbent Mr. Stone, and two Republicans are running.

Mr. Stone is expected to continue his stranglehold on the seat he has held since 1967. His Democratic opponent is Ford J. Greenwood, a 78-year-old Sparrows Point tavern owner.

"I firmly believe in the political axiom that he who takes for granted gets beaten," Mr. Stone said. So, he said, he has opened a campaign headquarters, purchased hundreds of political yard signs and is busy attending political functions.

"The issues in this district are pretty strong along the same party lines," he said. "Our older population is growing and we want to keep younger residents. The other concern is crime, no matter where you go."

Mr. Greenwood said he wasn't accepting contributions and didn't plan to campaign until closer to the election.

"It's not much of a contest . . . there's nobody substantive to take Senator Stone out of the picture," said Thomas Toporovich, former administrator to the County Council and unofficial mayor of Dundalk.

"And many feel there will be a light turnout, perhaps 30 percent, and that will favor the organizations and enhance the chances of the incumbents."

Republican voters will be choosing a Senate nominee between Russell Mirabile, a conservative who owns a bingo hall and tavern, and Onas W. Jansen Jr., a specifications analyst at Bethlehem Steel.

"I'm learning the hard way what it's like to run as a Republican in Dundalk," Mr. Jansen said. .

Mr. Mirabile gained attention on the Fourth of July when he had a model of a prison electric chair on his float in the Dundalk parade to state his position on crime.

"Jobs, crime, taxes, that's what real people are concerned about," Mr. Mirabile said.

"We have to do something about crime, don't offer any alibis, no excuses," he said. "Crime is everywhere. Once you have a criminal in prison, keep them in prison, keep them locked up.

"If we don't, we're sinking fast."

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