Delegate candidates snipe at each other

November 04, 1994|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,Sun Staff Writer

John A. Giannetti, Democratic challenger in the District 13B state House of Delegates race, says incumbent John S. Morgan is working both sides of the issues -- criticizing business and development interests while taking money from their political action committees.

Mr. Morgan, who has argued forcefully against unchecked development and has called for "tighter limits on PAC donations," received $2,738 from political action committees from Aug. 29 to Oct. 23, the most recent campaign finance reporting period.

"It's like, which way does he believe?" said Mr. Giannetti.

Mr. Morgan shrugs off such criticism as sour grapes from a long-shot candidate.

"I don't think [Mr. Giannetti] is upset about me getting that money," Mr. Morgan said. "What he's upset about is that he was not the recipient."

The two candidates, both 30, are vying to represent the state's smallest legislative district, which straddles the Howard and Prince George's County line in Laurel.

In District 13B, residents have made growth and development, and the accompanying crowded schools and traffic snarls, a key campaign issue in both the Howard and Prince George's sides of the district.

The development issue heated up when Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke proposed building a 78,600-seat stadium on the Anne Arundel County side of the city.

"In North Laurel, there is no open space," said Patsy Yingling, president of the North Laurel Civic Association. "There's not much room to breathe."

Yesterday, Mr. Morgan criticized his opponent for accepting a $100 contribution from the wife of a Redskins representative, saying, "I would think that would be a big concern to the people of Laurel."

Throughout the campaign, Mr. Morgan has vowed that he wouldn't take money from the National Football League team or its representatives because he opposes construction of the stadium.

The latest campaign finance report shows that he has accepted $1,476 from the Maryland Realtors PAC and $250 from the Maryland Highway Contractors PAC.

"The reason why those groups are providing funds to my campaign is that they know that I'm a strong and effective legislator in Annapolis," Mr. Morgan said.

"The Realtors are concerned about property values just like the people of Laurel. I don't think that's in conflict at all."

During the most recent four-week reporting period, Mr. Morgan raised $7,362, and Mr. Giannetti brought in $8,506.

"I believe John Morgan is a good man . . . but it's always very interesting when a person receives a lot of money from developers," Mr. Giannetti said.

The Morgan campaign has spent more than $2,300 for television ads, in addition to ads he ran with Del. Martin G. Madden, the GOP nominee for the District 13 Senate seat. Mr. Morgan, a senior engineer at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, has been endorsed by the Howard and Prince George's Chambers of Commerce.

Mr. Giannetti, co-owner of a graphics design business, is a newcomer to politics who defeated former Laurel Mayor Joseph R. Robison in the Democratic primary in September. And, like Mr. Morgan, Mr. Giannetti has received contributions from PACs.

The largest amount came from the Maryland Trial Lawyers Association PAC, which donated $1,000. Mr. Giannetti also has benefited from contributions from Democratic politicians, including a $1,000 check from state House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. and $1,000 from the Young Men's Democratic Club.

"As far as I know, I have not accepted money from developers or builders at all," Mr. Giannetti said.

He said the contribution from the wife of a Redskins representative came only because they are "close friends of the family's."

Most of Mr. Giannetti's other contributions came from individuals in amounts of about $100, though some have been as high as $500. He has been endorsed by the Maryland State Teachers Association and the Maryland Citizens Action Committee.

Mr. Giannetti used much of his remaining money for a TV ad campaign that cost him $1,500 over five days and included 12 spots that ran last night.

PD "This race is going to go down to the wire," Mr. Giannetti said.

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