3 Democrats get teachers' endorsement for council

June 04, 1998|By Gady A. Epstein | Gady A. Epstein,SUN STAFF

The Howard County teachers union endorsed three Democratic candidates for County Council yesterday, including Guy J. Guzzone, the Kings Contrivance Democrat running for what both parties consider the critical "swing" seat in this year's election.

The Howard County Education Association is also backing Del. Elizabeth Bobo, Del. James E. Malone Jr., Del. Shane Pendergrass, Del. Frank S. Turner, state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer and state Sen. Martin G. Madden for re-election as part of a first slate of endorsements rewarding candidates who have shown a commitment to schools. Madden is the only Republican being endorsed.

"Our early recommendations are really thank-yous -- thank-you endorsements, thank-you recommendations for those officials that have really taken the public education issues to heart and acted in a very supportive manner," said Karen Dunlop, president of the 3,200-member association.

Two of the endorsements are going to incumbent council PTC members who have strong chances of re-election, Columbia Democrats C. Vernon Gray and Mary C. Lorsung. Guzzone, who made a failed bid for delegate in Towson eight years ago, is the only Democrat in a southern Howard race his party feels it needs to win to regain control of the five-member council.

The endorsements come as no surprise. Teachers unions have long been reliable supporters of the Democratic Party here and nationwide, and Gray, Lorsung and Guzzone all advocated more education spending in this year's bitter budget fight.

Nevertheless, the teachers' choices work against moderate Republican council candidates, all of whom supported increased funding for schools this year: former school board Chairwoman Susan J. Cook, who is running against Gray; K. Gregory Fox, who is challenging Lorsung; and especially Wanda Hurt and Kirk J. Halpin, who are vying for the chance to face Guzzone.

Guzzone's race is considered critical because whichever party wins that seat is expected to control the council, and with that, get the chance to redraw district lines. Hurt, a former PTA activist who is county executive candidate Dennis R. Schrader's choice to succeed him, said she knew she had no chance at an endorsement from the teachers despite her support for education.

"The teachers union always endorses Democrats, period," Hurt said. "Republicans need not apply."

Pub Date: 6/04/98

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