Candidates aim for 3 seats in House Four differ in style, not on various issues

Campaign 1998

October 11, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

The four candidates -- three Republicans and a Democrat -- vying to represent eastern Carroll County in the state House of Delegates agree on such concerns as fostering economic development and ensuring quality public education.

Differences exist in style and partisan politics.

One thing is certain. At least two Republicans will represent the majority of Carroll County residents in House District 5 next January. Three seats are available. The district covers eastern Carroll from Union Mills to Sykesville.

The GOP favorites are the incumbents -- Nancy R. Stocksdale of Westminster, the leading vote-getter in the 1994 election, and Joseph M. Getty, a Manchester attorney who finished third in the 1994 balloting.

Republican Carmen Amedori of Westminster narrowly won a party nomination in last month's primary. She hopes to make it a GOP sweep in November, ousting incumbent Democrat Ellen Willis Miller.

Miller, who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, was appointed to take the place of Carroll County Democrat Richard N. Dixon when he became state treasurer in 1996. To return to Annapolis, Miller would have to woo Republicans and independent voters. Registered Republicans outnumber registered Democrats in her district 55 percent to 45 percent.

If the GOP votes along party lines, Amedori's election is assured.

But as Republican W. David Blair learned four years ago, that may not happen. Blair, who sought to ally himself closely with gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey, finished second in the 1994 primary, but suffered a narrow defeat in the general election.

In this election, however, the Carroll Republicans are running as individuals rather than as a slate.

The Republicans and the Democrat appear to have identical stances on issues that have surfaced in the campaign. Their No. 1 priority, they say, is to ensure that Carroll residents receive a quality public education. All want to foster economic development, and all oppose casino and slot machine gambling.

The race appears to be boiling down to a matter of style.

Stocksdale is running as a provider of constituent services, Getty as a knowledgeable insider who can get things on the House floor and in committee, Miller as a hard worker who can bring home the economic bacon, and Amedori as a voice for small businesses, gun owners and anti-abortionists.

"I try to have as much contact as possible with the public," said Stocksdale, who worked in that capacity for Republican U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett. "I listen to what their concerns are. If they have a problem with state agencies, I try to work with them" to resolve the problem.

"Because I serve on the appropriations committee and the transportation and environment subcommittee, I deal frequently with the Secretary of Transportation and the head of the department of highways," she said. "When Secretary [David L.] Winstead looks at me, he sees me not as Nancy Stocksdale, but as Delegate Bypass."

She was referring to Carroll's efforts to get the state to move forward on building bypasses around congested communities.

Getty said his "ability to do good floor work" in the Maryland General Assembly is one of the ways he serves his constituents.

"Out of the whole body of the Maryland General Assembly only a few can do good floor work," he said. "I know what's going on. I can plan strategy to support or oppose legislation. I can work it through committee or work it on the floor. It's an unusual set of talents."

Miller said she is "very comfortable serving with Joe and Nancy in the House of Delegates," and does not fear running as a Democrat in a Republican-dominated district.

"I'm very confident that my constituents will look at my record," she said. "I'm very proud of it. I've shown a strong streak of independence and I have shown independence in my position. People respect that."

Miller said she does not know what to expect from Amedori.

"I know that I'm her target," she said.

Ever since her primary victory, Amedori has zeroed in on Miller. During her opening remarks at a Chamber of Commerce forum last week, Amedori noted Miller voted for a bill that was "bad for business" and opposed by Republicans.

But her argument may elude some voters. She never mentioned that the bill was designed to help the state recoup billions of dollars from the tobacco industry for the treatment of smoke-related illnesses. Instead, she focused on what she saw as a bad precedent -- approving a bill that she said unfairly changed state law in the middle of a court case.

"The message to business is that Maryland is fickle," Amedori said. "The bill was promoted to protect Peter G. Angelos, the highest-priced trial attorney in the state."

Amedori "understands business," she said.

"When business looks to locate in Maryland, they have to predict and project profitability," she said. "I would vote on things to enhance stability, to make Maryland more business-friendly."

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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