DeJuliis, Ehrlich in the 2nd Primary endorsements: Party elections offer contrasting candidate positions.

February 27, 1996

VOTERS IN THE primary elections of the 2nd Congressional District -- embracing Harford County, eastern Baltimore County and a sliver of Anne Arundel County -- will have a distinct choice among candidates of both parties.

The two strongest Democratic contenders are Connie Galiazzo DeJuliis and Joseph John Bish Jr., who finished second and third, respectively, in the 1994 primary for the same office.

Mr. Bish, a computer program analyst at Westinghouse Electric Corp., calls himself a "pro-business, pro-life, pro-gun" conservative. Mrs. DeJuliis, a former state delegate from Dundalk, is decidedly pro-labor, pro-choice and pro-gun control. While Mrs. DeJuliis espouses mainstream liberal Democratic views, Mr. Bish is more comfortable with the conservative Republican philosophy that carried incumbent Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to victory two years ago.

Both Democratic candidates insist that the solvency of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security funds must be protected, but they differ on how to balance the budget. Mr. Bish believes that overall spending must be cut, Mrs. DeJuliis would target fraud and waste.

A Bel Air resident, Mr. Bish carried Harford County in 1994. Mrs. DeJuliis, who now lives in Glen Arm, counts on strong party support in the Essex and Dundalk areas, which she represented in the General Assembly from 1990-94.

Mr. Ehrlich has been in the forefront of freshmen GOP congressmen backing House Speaker Newt Gingrich's Contract with America. The incumbent defends his House votes as representing the will of the district's traditionally conservative electorate, which has elected a Republican to the seat since 1984.

But Mr. Ehrlich can expect a backlash from voters concerned about his stands on Medicare and environmental issues, and from those who blame Republican budget politics with shutting down the federal government this winter. Walter Boyd, a Lutherville activist running for the Republican nomination, assails the incumbent and his party for efforts to cut Medicare and for the government shutdown.

In the Democratic primary, we endorse Mrs. DeJuliis for her positions representative of the party in Maryland. Mr. Ehrlich deserves renomination on the Republican ballot, and the chance to stand on his record in November.

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