First-time candidate Blades, 61, ready for Harris in 9th District Battle is for House seat held 17 years by Boozer

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 state Sen. F. Vernon Boozer. Boozer lost the Republican primary to Harris on Tuesday by 613 votes after being painted by Harris as too liberal, particularly on abortion.

Yesterday, the little-known Blades found himself thrust into the spotlight, preparing to mount an electoral battle against Harris with a campaign fund of 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 Army Reserve 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 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 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 opposes later-term procedures.

On gun control -- where Boozer's support for some limits earned 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]. People should have a choice."

Pub Date: 9/17/98

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