Candidates in three of the six County Council districts face no opposition in the primary election Tuesday. But voters in both the Democratic and Republican camps will have quite a selection of candidates in Districts A, B and C.
Candidates must live in the district they wish to represent, but they are elected countywide. All voters make selections in all six districts.
The decisions by Councilwomen Joanne Parrott and Theresa Pierno to abandon their seats to run for council president opened up Districts B and C, respectively, to a host of candidates.
In District A, where incumbent Susan Heselton is conducting a no-campaigning campaign, two Democrats and two Republicans are battling to unseat her.
Among the Democrats is Habern Dean Freeman, the 27-year-old son of state Sen. Habern W. Freeman Jr. The younger Mr. Freeman, of Joppa, says he would work to control spending by council members and keep taxes down.
Crime major concern
Like all candidates in District A, which includes the densely populated Edgewood and Joppatowne communities, Mr. Freeman puts crime near the top of his list of concerns. He says he "wholeheartedly supports the sheriff's office" as the county's law-enforcement agency.
At candidates' forums in recent weeks, he has spoken against the county transfer tax on real estate and in favor of term limits for county legislators.
Mr. Freeman works in public relations at the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Maryland Geological Survey.
His primary opponent is Thomas J. Eser III, chief of the Joppa-Magnolia Volunteer Fire Company and a professional firefighter in Baltimore.
Mr. Eser says his main goals countywide are fighting drugs, improving education -- particularly computer literacy -- and creating more jobs in the county for Harford residents.
The Edgewood resident is particularly concerned about maintaining Aberdeen Proving Ground, including the Edgewood installation, as the largest source of jobs in the county. He, too, prefers having a sheriff elected by the citizens to a police chief appointed by the county executive.
In the Republican primary, incumbent Mrs. Heselton's campaign perhaps the most understated of any in the county. While she has made some public appearances, she says she refuses to "litter the landscape with ugly signs," buy advertising or hold fund-raisers.
"It's been a rough four years, and I don't think its fair to ask people for money. I've told my volunteers if you want to help, just talk to people. Spread the word."
The Republican councilwoman won't be doing any last-minute sign-waving. She will be out of town on a bird-banding expedition on primary Election Day.
Her opponents are James Haney and John A. Myrick, both of Edgewood.
Mr. Haney has campaigned on the theme that he takes no campaign money from anyone. He says he's spent $2,500 of his own money on signs and direct mail to promote his get-tough stance on crime.
The retired Army officer, who has spent the last 14 years as a manager in the aerospace industry, ran for County Council four years ago -- as a Democrat in District F -- and lost to Philip Barker in the primary. Redistricting after the election moved his Edgewood home into District A and Mr. Haney changed his party affiliation to Republican "the day after Clinton was elected."
If elected, he says, he'd try to squeeze a little more money out of the budget for teachers and school supplies, and would encourage the executive branch to chase federal anti-crime money targeted for local jurisdictions.
Would help small business
He says the county has gone to "great lengths to get big business to locate here," but has not done enough to support small businesses.
Mr. Myrick, a former private investigator who joined the Harford County sheriff's office as a deputy sheriff this month, says it's time Edgewood had a resident on the council.
"The elected officials in Bel Air have neglected to listen to the will of the people," Mr. Myrick says. "Edgewood has become a dumping ground for any project they don't know how to deal with."
He says he favors stronger oversight of the education budget, more citizen input in drafting legislation and zoning laws that would prevent the county from losing its "pristine landscape."
The field is most crowded in District B, where six Republicans and two Democrats are competing for the seat being vacated by Mrs. Parrott.
Joyce B. Eaton, a longtime Fallston activist who was named Harford County child care coordinator by County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann last year, faces Charles L. Brockmeyer of Joppa in the Democratic race.
Mrs. Eaton, whose husband, Ronald, is the county school board president, has a long history as a volunteer in social service organizations, including the county's Commission for Women, the Sexual Assault-Spouse Abuse Resource Center and Harford County Crime Solvers.