Manley decides against run for county executive

May 19, 1998|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Republican hopes for a prominent candidate to run against Democratic Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger took another hit yesterday, as former Catonsville Republican Councilwoman Berchie Lee Manley said she won't enter the race.

"You have to have the fire in the belly to want to do it -- and I do -- but it's in the best interests of my family not to do it," said Manley, refusing to elaborate.

The decision, by the only prominent county Republican who had been actively considering a race, leaves the GOP without a candidate for the county's top job, with less than two months until the filing deadline.

"It's a good year for incumbents. It's unfortunate," said Towson Republican Councilman Douglas B. Riley.

But Manley's announcement -- and the lack of any apparent GOP candidate for the county's top job -- delights Democrats.

"We love it," said Larry Simmons, chairman of the Democratic State Central Committee. "It helps us. It gives us more time and energy to put into other races."

Although Ruppersberger's campaigns have always been hotly contested, his supporters don't seem worried this year, at least not so far. Michael H. Davis, Ruppersberger's spokesman, said the executive might be "disappointed" at the prospect of an easy re-election.

"He loves campaigning. He loves people" and competition, Davis said.

Manley, 69, did fire one parting shot at Ruppersberger, calling him "too powerful. He is controlling commissions, boards, trus- tees and the school board," she said. "He ceases to be a leader and becomes a dictator."

Pub Date: 5/19/98

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