Bissett, Beck say they aren't on a slate with Brown CAMPAIGN 1994

September 11, 1994|By Liz Atwood and Andrea F. Siegel | Liz Atwood and Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writers

Red and white campaign signs are touting "Bissett, Beck and Brown -- Vision Team 1994."

But two of the District 30 House of Delegates candidates are saying they want no part of their teammate.

A political action committee using the three names registered with the State Board of Elections Sept. 2. Republicans Philip Bissett and Joan Beck say they had nothing to do with it and have filed disclaimers with the Board of Elections.

Mr. Bissett, an incumbent, and Mrs. Beck said they suspect the signs and the PAC are the work of supporters of Michael T. Brown, a perennial candidate who this year is among those seeking the Republican nomination in the 30th District.

The two candidates learned about the PAC when elections officials, questioning the filing, were unable to reach the PAC applicants and contacted the astonished candidates.

"It does imply a slate and there never has been," Mrs. Beck said. A slate requires candidates' consent.

In the PAC's registration form, applicants Anita D. Green of Edgewater and Van-Rae C. White-Jones of Annapolis state that it was not authorized by the candidates. Ms. Green has been active in some local political circles.

Neither Mr. Brown nor the PAC's officers could be reached for comment. Mr. Brown told The Sun several weeks ago that he would not be surprised to see support for a Beck, Bissett and Brown ticket.

"They're using my name to raise money and they may be incurring obligations. I have no part in this," Mrs. Beck said of the PAC. "It's totally bizarre."

There will be no indication how much money the organization raised until just before the November general election.

"It was really a strange thing," said Helen Fister, chairman of the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee. She said the candidates had agreed not to form a ticket until after Tuesday's primary, which will narrow the GOP field from four to three.

The application states that the PAC has been formed to encourage "the recruitment of women and African-Americans to the Republican Party." Mr. Brown is black.

Mr. Bissett said he is pleased that the black community would be supporting his candidacy, but he is baffled by the PAC's creation.

"On the bright side, it's got my name on top," he said of the PAC's signs. "But some of my own signs have come down and these have gone up in their place."

Mrs. Beck and Mr. Bissett have vowed that if elected they will introduce bills to prevent PACs from using candidates' names without consent.

As of the mid-August campaign finance report, Mr. Brown reported that he had neither raised nor spent any money. But voters in District 30 said they received a mailing from Mr. Brown in August.

Mr. Brown has twice unsuccessfully sought a seat on the Annapolis City Council and ran in 1990 for the House of Delegates.

He was a Democrat until this year.

In 1989, when Mr. Brown lost the Ward 6 alderman election by seven votes, several absentee ballots that he filed for people contained questionable signatures. Mr. Brown had signed as agent, or messenger and witness, for all the ballots reviewed for possible election fraud. Several were thrown out.

In 1990, when Mr. Brown ran for the House of Delegates from District 30, a leaflet placed on the windshields of cars outside a candidates' night urged the black community to vote for only one candidate -- Mr. Brown -- instead of three.

It offended some people, because it featured the slogan "Of hands that once picked cotton, we can now pick our own public officials." Mr. Brown disavowed knowledge of the leaflet.

Last year, Mr. Brown denied that his campaign was involved in distributing fliers that accused the other Democratic challenger in the Annapolis primary, Kenneth A. Kirby, of using crack cocaine. The fliers urged voters to vote for Mr. Brown.

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