A first-class fight for the 2nd seat Campaign: The resignation of City Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge has sparked what could be a spectacular scramble to succeed him.

The Political Game

June 11, 1996|By William F. Zorzi, Jr. | William F. Zorzi, Jr.,SUN STAFF

IT COULD BE a long, hot summer in Baltimore's 2nd Councilmanic District.

The abrupt resignation of City Councilman Anthony J. Ambridge leaves a hole in the 2nd's three-person delegation that could provide for a good old-fashioned political fight.

Comptroller Joan M. Pratt's selection of Ambridge as the city's real estate officer was a smart move politically. Looking ahead to 1999 and a possible mayoral bid, it gives her the chance to broaden her political base -- particularly with white voters -- in north and east Baltimore, and gives her office a credible voice unafraid of criticizing Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke's administration.

But it also sets up the potential for war in the 2nd District, where Ambridge -- historically the top vote-getter -- expects to have difficulty in getting his way on a successor.

He would like to see Pamela J. Kelly, a Charles Village resident and longtime member of the 2nd District's New Democratic Club (NDC-2) take the seat, when the council convenes in September after summer recess.

"I'm very interested," said Kelly, a former aide to and occasional political operative for William Donald Schaefer -- during his tenures as mayor and governor -- and now urban issues coordinator for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

"But we'll see how it plays out," Kelly said.

Ambridge also has mentioned Craig Thompson, a young lawyer from East Baltimore who at one point worked for former 2nd District Councilman Carl Stokes, as a possibility.

But Schmoke has let it be known he wouldn't mind seeing the seat filled by Edward R. K. Hargadon, an assistant attorney general for the Maryland Port Administration and former president of the Charles Village Civic Association.

Hargadon, who supported Schmoke in last year's bitter mayoral race with Mary Pat Clarke, also is said to be all right with the mayor's political strategist, Larry S. Gibson.

Ultimately, the remaining 2nd District council members -- Paula Johnson Branch and Robert L. Douglass, both members of the Eastside Democratic Organ- ization (EDO) -- have the say. They're the ones who will make their recommendation to the full council, which will vote on it.

The early word is that the EDO will go with the mayor's pick -- a deal that gives Schmoke another vote on the council.

City Council President Lawrence A. Bell III could wade into the fray, given that he could dangle the plum of Ambridge's chairmanship of the powerful Land Use Committee as an inducement to vote the right way -- whichever way that might be.

As the summer wears on, so will the struggle for the hearts and minds of the decision-makers in the 2nd District. And Ambridge says he will not go quietly, without having a say as to who replaces him on the council.

"My hope is that my successor will be independent, fair and accessible," Ambridge said. "As Citizen Ambridge, I'm going to urge the public to participate in the process -- to make sure it won't be so easy to pick some lummox who's going to go along with the administration every time."

Annapolis lobbyist climbs aboard Internet

Gerard E. Evans, the current big-money champeen of Annapolis lobbyists, has taken his formidable networking skills to the Internet.

His high-powered firm of Dukes Evans Rozner & Stierhoff last week launched a home page on the World Wide Web, claiming the title of first Annapolis lobbyists on the Internet -- giving new meaning to the term "wired."

"At this firm, we like to be known for our aggressive innovation," said Evans, who is also known for earning $1,051,300 in lobbying fees during the 12-month period ending last October.

With many high-tech clients, Evans said he's sold on the powers of the Internet.

"It will rapidly become a necessity. It will become what the Yellow Pages were 25 years ago," he told Sun reporter Mike Dresser.

The firm said the Web site will include information about members of the firm, a client list and information about issues before the Maryland General Assembly. The Web page, with the address http: //MarylandLobbyists.com, also will include a means for users to send electronic mail to members of the firm.

Evans said the Internet address was selected so that when someone looking for a Maryland lobbyist uses a search program to find one, his firm's name will pop up at the top of the list.

The one thing the site lacks is a catchy, high-tech name. How about CloutNet?

Pub Date: 6/11/96

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.