Carroll developers waiting until after primary to fund local candidates

August 28, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County builders plan to give local candidates information and supplies as well as cash in this year's elections, but they won't do it until after the primary, a spokesman said.

"We have been known as deep pockets in the past," said Patrick Dail, a government affairs representative for the Home Builders Association of Maryland.

Developers in the metropolitan Baltimore counties plan to offer candidates they support "in-kind services that will benefit them more than a simple check," he said.

The builders plan to buy voter registration lists that candidates may use for reference and supply "walking-around lists," which separate registered Democrats from Republicans in neighborhoods so candidates may choose which doors to knock on, Mr. Dail said.

They also plan to give mailing labels to candidates and offer places to post campaign signs, he said.

The builders described their plans to candidates in a letter last month.

"In addition to financial contributions, candidates endorsed by our PAC [political action committee] this election year will have the advantage of a series of proven election services ranging from sophisticated campaign technology to traditional 'roll-up-the-sleeves' grass-roots operatives," the letter said.

Mr. Dail did not want to say how much money the Carroll County Home Builders PAC would spend in this year's elections.

Records filed by the Carroll PAC at the Board of Supervisors of Elections in Annapolis show that the group had $921 available to spend as of Aug. 16.

PAC chairman Gary Blucher, of Masonry Contractors Inc. of Manchester, did not return phone calls from a reporter.

The Home Builders Association of Maryland PAC had about $102,700 to spend as of Aug. 16, records show.

State law governing elections says PACs may give not more than $6,000 to one candidate during an election cycle. The current cycle runs from July 1991 to December 1994.

The Carroll chapter decided not to endorse commissioner candidates in the Sept. 13 primary because there were too many challengers, and members felt they would not be able to thoroughly interview all candidates, Mr. Dail said.

Ten candidates -- five Democrats and five Republicans -- are in the race for three commissioner seats. Two incumbents are running.

In the past, Carroll builders have endorsed candidates in the primary, he said.

This year, homebuilders in Anne Arundel and Howard counties also decided not to endorse candidates until the general election. Builders in Baltimore and Harford counties will make endorsements before the primary, Mr. Dail said.

The Carroll chapter will endorse candidates in the commissioners' race, and the Home Builders Association of Maryland will endorse candidates in House and Senate races in Districts 4 and 5, he said.

The developers do not plan to endorse candidates in other races, such as state's attorney or school board, Mr. Dail said.

Carroll builders asked local candidates to respond in writing to questions about growth, impact fees and other related issues, he said. Builders wanted to get a general idea about where candidates stand, he said.

The builders also invited local candidates to a breakfast Aug. 18 at the Wakefield Valley Golf Club. About 16 candidates and 22 builders attended, Mr. Dail said.

Candidates were told they each would have two minutes to respond to the question, "When in office, how will you help (or hurt) the housing industry?"

Instead, most candidates spoke in general about their positions on a number of issues, including crime, education and economic development, Mr. Dail said.

Builders also wanted to determine whether the candidates would be accessible to the public if elected and be willing to listen to builders' opinions on issues, he said.

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