A Senate battalion holds its fire Election board: The abrupt resignation of a Glendening appointee spares the governor a fight with the GOP.

The Political Game

February 20, 1996|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

LAST SUMMER, Maryland Senate Minority Leader John A. Cade threatened to put the kibosh on one of Gov. Parris N. Glendening's two GOP nominees to the state election board, once the legislature convened.

But Mr. Cade, the bull elephant from Anne Arundel County, never got the chance -- though his less-than-public objections to the nominee (the senator wanted another, party-picked candidate) probably helped ensure that.

Mr. Glendening's nominee, Baltimore attorney Andrew Radding, resigned his position last month after serving since July on the five-member State Administrative Board of Election Laws while awaiting Senate confirmation.

In his stead, the governor picked Michelle Dyson, a Montgomery County businesswoman who was recommended by Mr. Cade and the Senate Republican Caucus (15 of Maryland's 47 senators) in a third round of GOP submissions to the second floor of the State House.

Mr. Glendening sent her name to the Senate for its blessing Thursday. And yesterday, Ms. Dyson, a Montgomery County Republican who has run twice for Congress against 4th District Rep. Albert R. Wynn, was confirmed by the Senate's Executive Nominations Committee without a hitch.

Ms. Dyson, who is viewed by many in the GOP as a rising star, is president and chief executive officer of Computer Information Specialists (CIS) Inc., a communication services concern based in Silver Spring, where she resides.

She ran against Mr. Wynn twice, in 1992 and 1994, losing both times by a 3-to-1 margin, mostly owing to his strongly Democratic home base in Prince George's County, which makes up the majority of the 4th District.

"We think her expertise in the computer and technology fields will be beneficial to the board in their efforts to update the various jurisdictions' voting systems," said Hannah L. Byron, the governor's overseer of appointments.

Mr. Radding offered no reason for his abrupt resignation, Ms. Byron said.

"Andy had been serving well for six months; then we got the letter of resignation," Ms. Byron said.

Mr. Radding, who is a friend of Mr. Glendening's chief political strategist, Maryland Secretary of State John T. Willis, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

But Republicans around the State House said Mr. Radding had been given an idea of how uncomfortable Mr. Cade and the rest of the caucus could make it.

Some of the GOP legislators had even warmed to the idea of Mr. Radding's being on the board and liked what he had done so far. But in the end, one Republican said, "It became a matter of principle" for the party.

In June, Mr. Glendening replaced the board -- three Democrats and two Republicans -- on the last day of the members' four-year terms.

Through the spring, the governor twice sought -- and twice received -- the GOP's recommendations for the two seats, only to ignore the first two names submitted and appoint just one of the two Republicans in the second batch.

(That nominee, Linda B. "Lu" Pierson, a former Baltimore City election board member, also was confirmed yesterday by the Senate panel -- though all four GOP members of the Senate Nominations Committee voted against her.)

But Mr. Cade was peeved that the governor didn't accept the other recommendation as well -- mainly because he and the rest of the Senate GOP Caucus wanted Trent M. Kittleman, a labor lawyer who also happens to be married to House Minority Leader Robert H. Kittleman.

In July, Mr. Cade wrote the governor to tell him he would oppose the substitute selection of Mr. Radding when the Senate considered the nominee.

Apparently Mr. Radding read the signals loud and clear.

More with Gore

In honor of leap year, our vice president is coming to Baltimore to raise money for the Maryland Democratic Party.

It's sort of "a Party party for the nonprimary primary," March 5, in the words of one Democratic activist.

Vice President Al Gore will appear Feb. 29 (like presidential elections, the day comes but once every four years) at the B&O Railroad Museum in Southwest Baltimore.

For $1,000, you can mingle with Mr. Gore at a preparty VIP cocktail reception. The smaller fry -- those who care only to pony up $100 a ticket -- will have access to the main event, where the veep will speak.

Proceeds will help underwrite the Democrats' coordinated campaign for the November general election, paying for such things as voter lists, phone banks and campaign literature mailings.

Cheers.

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