Message in Md.

November 06, 1997

LOCAL ELECTIONS decided in several Maryland municipalities Tuesday were largely non-partisan affairs with their own unique quirks. That makes it tough to draw many connections between them and next year's statewide campaigns.

Nevertheless, Maryland Republicans have to be pleased.

In Annapolis, Dean L. Johnson, until recently a federal transportation economist, returned the mayoral seat to the GOP for the first time since 1985. The mayor in Annapolis also votes on the eight-member City Council, which apparently will be split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.

In Frederick, Republican Mayor James S. Grimes, a millionaire truck dealer, won re-election over Democratic Alderman Frances G. Baker. Mr. Grimes overcame criticism of problems plaguing a civic arts center in the state's second-largest incorporated city. Frederick, like the county around it, is being transformed by all the new housing washing north from Montgomery County. Mr. Grimes' challenge is to help realize Frederick's potential in developing business and tourism, with its strong highway access and Civil War roots.

Elections in Montgomery County were harder yet to interpret, because candidates did not run under party flags. In Rockville, Mayor Rose G. Krasnow was re-elected 4,199-619 over a candidate soiled by questions about her own taxes and bizarre claims of "fradulent and criminal networks" in government. Kathy Porter won as mayor in Takoma Park.

Republicans also are out of the gate fastest for open county executive seats in the metropolitan area. In Harford, Republican Del. James M. Harkins used Tuesday to announce his candidacy to succeed Eileen M. Rehrmann, vying for the Democratic nomination against Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Similarly in Howard County, where Executive Charles I. Ecker just launched a challenge for governor, Republican councilmen Dennis R. Schrader and Charles C. Feaga have begun campaigning in earnest for his seat -- in marked contrast to the disorderly Democrats.

Election Day 1997 did nothing to diminish Republican hopes a year from now.

Pub Date: 11/06/97

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