GOP looks to replace Turner Hearing scheduled to select someone to complete term

September 05, 1997|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

The surprise resignation of Alderman Wayne C. Turner from the city council this week has sent the Republican Central Committee of Greater Annapolis scrambling for a replacement to fill his Ward 6 seat.

Turner's resignation -- which was effective Monday-- came less than a week after the Republican dropped out of the race for a third term because of a back injury.

That move left the race wide open for Telia R. Brown, his only Republican challenger in the Sept. 16 primary; no Democrats are running in Ward 6.

But many Republicans worry that Brown, 20, an Anne Arundel Community College student and political neophyte, lacks the experience to effectively represent the ward.

Brown is not guaranteed victory, however.

Turner, who has refused to endorse her, remains on the ballot because he withdrew too late.

If he won, the committee would name his replacement and thus determine who represents the ward during the next term.

In his resignation letter, dated Sunday, to Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins, Turner urged the appointment of James Lucas, 54, a business owner who has worked with Turner on city issues over the years.

"Should enough of my supporters vote for me and I win that election, that would afford the central committee the responsibility of appointing a replacement candidate for the general election," Turner wrote. "Again, I would urge them to appoint Mr. Lucas."

Yesterday, Turner said: "We want Ward 6 voters to know there is a choice."

Brown confirmed yesterday that she has notified the party of her interest in finishing Turner's term but declined to comment on his refusal to endorse her.

The party central committee set a public hearing Sept. 22 to select someone to complete Turner's term.

Turner stunned colleagues Aug. 28 when he announced that he was dropping out of the race because of family burdens, financial difficulties and health problems.

During the Labor Day weekend, he decided that a back injury prevented him from "actively and energetically" representing his constituents, he said.

In his resignation letter, Turner said that "even filling out the remaining three months of my second term will be difficult for me."

Hopkins, who represented Ward 6 on the city council for 28 years before he became mayor, accepted the resignation "with profound regret."

"I have deep admiration for the energy and enthusiasm Alderman Turner always displayed," he wrote to Riccardo Paradiso, chairman of the Republican Central Committee. "It is a reality of politics that we have had disagreements over some issues, but on balance, Alderman Turner has been one of the hardest-working members of this city council over the past eight years, and he will be sorely missed."

The election will radically alter the face of the council because there are no incumbents in five wards, and the city charter prohibits Hopkins from seeking a third term.

This week, the Republican Central Committee chose Herb McMillan, a Naval Reserve commander and pilot and Naval Academy graduate, as the party's candidate in Ward 5.

He replaces restaurant manager Timothy T. Troutner, who was declared ineligible to run for office because he failed to register to vote properly.

Turner's resignation "has sort of given the central committee a very important role in the elections," Paradiso said. "Our utmost concern now is to fill that seat. It is vital that the party finds someone with experience and community involvement because filling Wayne Turner's shoes will be a tough job."

Paradiso said several people have expressed interest in the job but declined to elaborate.

Lucas, chief operating officer of an Annapolis consulting company, said yesterday he has notified the party of his candidacy and hopes to replace Turner on the council permanently.

"He told me he was dropping out for health reasons, and he asked me if I was interested," Lucas said. "I've pledged to continue all the good things that Wayne has gotten started."

Pub Date: 9/05/97

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