First-time candidate advances to race in 9th Legislative District He'll face challenger for Boozer's seat

Primary 1998

September 17, 1998|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

Dr. Andrew Harris' supporters already are anticipating their candidate's swearing in as state senator for Baltimore County's conservative 9th Legislative District -- but don't forget about Anthony O. Blades.

Blades, 61, of Monkton -- a military retiree and first-time candidate -- was the lone Democrat to file for the seat occupied by 17-year veteran state Sen. F. Vernon Boozer. Boozer lost the Republican primary to Harris Tuesday by 613 votes, after being painted by Harris as too liberal, particularly on the issue of abortion.

Yesterday, the little-known Blades found himself thrust into the spotlight, preparing to mount an electoral battle against Harris with a campaign fund totaling about $700 donated by friends.

"I plan to be very active. I think I stand an excellent chance," said Blades, who spent 40 years with the U.S. Army Reserves and 26 as a Maryland parole official and was surprised at Boozer's loss.

Yesterday, he said "about 10 people" called him with spontaneous offers of support, but no organized groups or elected officials were among them.

"A couple Republicans offered me money today, after asking me my views" he said. "People have been calling here all morning."

A Monkton resident for 36 years, Blades and his wife, Margaret, have been married for 26 years. They have five adult children and three grandchildren. He said he obtained a bachelor's degree in business management in 1960 from the University of Baltimore, and is a vestryman and assistant treasurer at Epiphany Episcopal church in Timonium.

He also served as a volunteer working with at-risk children at Harlem Park Middle School, where his wife retired as a teacher in 1987.

Blades, who spent $400 during the primary, said his main issues will be crime reduction, reduction of state and county taxes and phonics-based reading instruction in schools.

On abortion, Blades said, "it should be up to the woman to decide what she should or should not do." He said, however, that he is against the later-term procedures.

On gun control -- where Boozer's support for some limits earned rTC voter wrath -- Blades portrayed himself as a moderate.

"I believe there should be some gun control, but I don't think we should take the rights of individuals away," he said. "People need to be more responsible in storing guns and ammunition."

He added, "I was against assault weapons. You don't need assault weapons to go hunting." But he also said, "I'm a very conservative-type person."

Blades, an Annapolis native, said he took on the challenge because "I wasn't satisfied with the person we have in office [Boozer], and no other Democrat is running. We are a two-party system. People should have a choice."

And he voiced confidence in his ability to challenge Harris, a physician.

"I can do as good as anybody else or better," he said.

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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