Gary could set new high for funds Executive is nearing record set by Neall of $475,577 in '90 race

Challengers may be scared

Seven of 10 top givers are companies that work with the county

November 11, 1997|By Tom Pelton | Tom Pelton,SUN STAFF

With the election a year away, Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary already is close to breaking the record for political fund-raising by a candidate for his job.

Campaign contribution reports filed yesterday with the state show the Republican had raised $459,020 through Nov. 3. Robert R. Neall set the record at $475,577 when he ran in 1990.

Seven of the 10 top contributors to Gary's war chest are developers or companies that do business with the county, according to a Sun analysis of the reports.

The biggest contributor remains Raymond Streib, owner of engineering firm Development Facilitators Inc. and a county contractor who, with his wife and company, has donated a combined $9,650 to Gary's political fund since 1992, campaign records show.

Other top donors who do work for the county include the John E. Harms Jr. and Associates engineering firm, which has contributed $4,000, and Messick and Associates, which gave $3,250, according to campaign contribution records since November of 1994.

Gary's campaign manager, Larry Telford, said it's not surprising that contractors support the county executive.

"I am assuming that they appreciate the accomplishments of the Gary administration and the improvements we have seen to the quality of life in this county," said Telford.

"Crime is down, unemployment is down, property taxes are the lowest in central Maryland and our school system by any measurement has improved," Telford said.

No opponents have declared their intention to run against Gary in 1998, and some observers wonder if his fund raising might scare away not only Democrats but challengers in his own party.

Helen Fister, chairman of the Anne Arundel County Republican party, said that Gary may use his war chest to help get other local politicians elected if he doesn't end up with a strong challenger.

She suggested, for example, that Gary could help the Republicans at the state level by boosting party members running for the House of Delegates in the 33rd District.

"It's my opinion that any opponent (of Gary's) should think long and hard before challenging him, because he's raised a lot of funds and he's done an excellent job," Fister said. "I'm sure he'll win."

The other donors in Gary's top 10 are: the Sturbridge Development Corp. and G. W. Koch and Associates Inc., which both gave $3,950; Ronald W. Johnson and Associates, which gave $3,700; Council, Baradel, Kosmerl and Nolan, which gave $3,450; Charles A. Dukes Jr., who gave $3,350; the County Utilities Corp., which gave $3,325; and Jones Communications Inc., which gave $3,100, according to contribution records since November of 1994.

Pub Date: 11/11/97

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