Nine in GOP vie for seats In Republican primary for General Assembly, only Haines unopposed

3 Democrats unchallenged

Ferguson, incumbent senator, confident of staving off rival

Campaign 1998

September 13, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

Nine Republicans will vie Tuesday for the opportunity to represent Carroll County in the General Assembly, but their Democratic challengers have a bye until November.

State Sen. Larry E. Haines is the only Republican incumbent who can coast through the 1998 election. The popular leader of the county's Annapolis delegation is unopposed in Tuesday's primary and the Nov. 3 general election.

But four other GOP incumbents -- Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson of Taylorsville and Dels. Donald B. Elliott of New Windsor, Joseph M. Getty of Manchester and Nancy R. Stocksdale of Westminster -- will have to fend off challengers.

The three Democrats in the race for State House seats -- Senate candidate George H. Littrell Jr. of Frederick, incumbent Del. Ellen Willis Miller of Westminster and House of Delegates hopeful Ann M. Ballard of Mount Airy -- are unopposed in their primary races.

Ferguson, who has raised nearly $100,000 in his District 4 re-election bid, will have to defeat Carroll Assistant State's Attorney Jerome J. Joyce of New Market to advance to the general election.

He is confident he will. "Only 18 percent" of his campaign treasury has come from political action committees -- an indication of "a lot of grass-roots support," he said.

"Most people are very satisfied with my Senate work," Ferguson said. "I expect on primary night to have a real victory celebration."

Ferguson, 43, is an engineering consultant who was elected in 1994. He serves on the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee and is a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Rifle Association.

Joyce, who is making his third try for public office, thinks Ferguson's victory prediction might be premature.

"He's done a very poor job of representing me," Joyce said. "He seems to have a knack for sticking his finger in people's eyes. I'm more interested in doing a good day's work. In eight years as a prosecutor, I found a lot wanting in the criminal code. I would be thrilled to go to Annapolis to try to make changes."

Joyce, 50, ran unsuccessfully for a House of Delegates seat in District 5 in 1990 when he was a Hampstead resident. He ran for the seat again in 1994 but withdrew to prosecute a murder trial.

Two-thirds of District 4 is in eastern Frederick County. The remainder is in western Carroll County.

Democrat Littrell, who served three terms in the House of Delegates, lost to Ferguson by a four-percentage-point margin in the 1994 Senate race. He lost by 1,479 votes in a 30,471-vote contest.

He is so looking forward to a rematch that he has already begun his campaign against Ferguson. He criticized Ferguson at a League of Women Voters forum last week for what he called Ferguson's poor record on the environment and for his failure to support mandatory sentences for criminals who use handguns when committing a crime.

In the District 4B House race, three-term incumbent Elliott is facing a challenge from Union Bridge resident Roy Pfeiffer.

Elliott, a 66-year-old pharmacist who defeated Pfeiffer by more than a 3-1 ratio four years ago, said he is "not taking anything for granted" this year even though his opponent "does not appear [to be] running a very active campaign."

"I am taking this very seriously and doing all that I know to $H execute a successful campaign," Elliott said. "I'm running on my record. I'm proud of my record. As a conservative, I have taken very seriously my job in the legislature, and I hope my constituents agree with that assessment."

Pfeiffer, 44, is calling for a political revolution similar to the one he said Georgia Rep. Newt Gingrich wrought in the House of Representatives.

"Three counties control the state," Pfeiffer said. "The incumbent has had 12 years" to alter the situation.

"You need Republicans gaining control of at least one branch of our government" for things to change, he said.

Ballard, 54, who is serving her second term on the county school board, will challenge the winner in November.

A portion of District 4A is in eastern Frederick County. The remainder is in western Carroll, from Taneytown to Mount Airy.

House incumbents Getty and Stocksdale in District 5 -- which covers the remainder of Carroll County -- do not appear to be under the same kind of assault as Ferguson and Elliott.

Their Republican challengers in District 5 -- Westminster resident Carmen Amedori, Manchester resident W. David Blair and County Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown of Westminster -- seem to be more interested in becoming the party's third nominee than in knocking off one of the incumbents.

Amedori, 42, makes that point explicitly.

"I'm running for the third seat," she said. "We need three strong candidates in the general election -- people who are committed to certain issues and have the solidarity to defeat [incumbent Democrat] Ellen Willis Miller in the general election. I see myself as the strongest of the three nonincumbents able to do that."

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