Merdon vows not to accept developers' contributions Council candidate's focus is managed growth

July 08, 1998|By Gady A. Epstein | Gady A. Epstein,SUN STAFF

Christopher J. Merdon, a Republican County Council contender who is making the issue of managed growth the centerpiece of his campaign, pledged at a fund-raiser last night not to accept contributions from developers.

Merdon, 27, is running to succeed Republican Darrel E. Drown in a conservative district in northeastern Howard that includes Ellicott City and Elkridge.

One of the oldest populated regions in the county, the district is sensitive to development that is filling out its few remaining empty spaces. That growth is overseen by the five-member council, which also sits as the Zoning Board.

"I want to make sure that I'm making [zoning] decisions on the facts," said Merdon, speaking at a $30-a-person event at Timbers at Troy golf course.

"The basis of this decision [not to accept developers' contributions] is not that I think developers are bad people."

Merdon's pledge puts him at odds with George L. Layman, a Democratic candidate who ran for the seat four years ago. Layman made the same no-developer pledge four years ago, but raised little money and ran a shadow campaign in losing to Drown, so he has said he will go after developers' contributions this time.

Layman and Merdon will have primary opponents in mid-September, as the 1st District race had two late entrants before the Monday filing deadline: Democrat James R. Loar, a 51-year-old retired fire captain from Elkridge, and Republican Timothy McCoy, a 42-year-old real estate agent from Ellicott City.

Merdon has a head start on all the candidates. He began his campaign more than a year ago and has the endorsement of Drown, who is leaving office this year.

He has raised about $9,000, including the money from last night's event.

Pub Date: 7/08/98

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