Former Dundalk Del. Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis may be the initial favorite in Maryland's 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary, but Joseph John Bish Jr. of Bel Air isn't conceding anything.
The big, tough-talking Westinghouse computer technician, who prides himself on his pro-business, pro-gun and anti-abortion stances, says, "I still feel that I'm the front-runner."
He figures to be Mrs. DeJuliis' chief rival, although political observers say she will draw more strength from backers of former Towson Del. Gerry L. Brewster, the 1994 primary winner. Mr. Brewster lost the general election to Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who is seeking re-election.
Mr. Brewster last year got roughly 26,000 votes to Mrs. DeJuliis' 24,500; Mr. Bish was third with 13,000. The district covers eastern Baltimore County, all of Harford County and a small section of northern Anne Arundel County.
Harold E. Long, a former campaign aide to Mr. Brewster, said Democrats who last year voted for the former Towson delegate likely will support Mrs. DeJuliis. Essex state Sen. Michael Collins, chairman of the county senate delegation, agreed.
Mr. Bish, however, plans to make a fight of the short campaign before the March 5 primary.
"I haven't been wishy-washy about it, waiting until the last minute," he said, noting that he has been campaigning since August and has raised 10 times the $518 he spent on his campaign last year, when he got 13,000 votes.
Mrs. DeJuliis filed her candidacy on Tuesday's deadline.
"This is an informed, calculated, reasoned decision," she said after filing. "I know what [a two-month campaign] will take."
She says that the GOP-controlled Congress has gone too far and that "the stupidity of the budget debate" and fears of deep Medicare cuts have made voters think twice. Mr. Bish agrees proposed cuts are too severe.
Personal concerns also were important. Mrs. DeJuliis was married early last year to James R. "Ron" DeJuliis, business manager of Local 37 of the International Union of Operating Engineers. The Glenarm couple has six children and a granddaughter, and Mrs. DeJuliis said she is determined to make time to see her 16-year-old stepson's high school football games next fall.
L Mr. Bish and Mrs. DeJuliis will battle four other Democrats.
Christopher C. Boardman of Joppa described himself as a longtime community activist who has worked on environmental problems around Aberdeen. Other Democrats are Kauko H. Kokkonen, a men's rights advocate who ran last year, Gilbert Peter Muirhead of Towson, and James A. Young of Severna Park.
Mr. Ehrlich said last week when he filed for re-election that he didn't care who ran against him. He and other freshmen Republicans are determined to produce a balanced budget, he said.
He has three opponents in the primary: Dundalk businessman Russell Mirabile; Walter Boyd, a retired state correctional officer from Lutherville; and Josef Thurston, a Towson State University student from Jarrettsville.