Republicans on top in two county races with little-known Democratic opponents Ample campaign fund, work in community put candidates ahead

October 15, 1998|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

T. Bryan McIntire and Wayne M. Skinner are a rare combination in Baltimore County politics -- Republicans heavily favored against little-known Democrats.

McIntire, 68, represents the North County and Owings Mills as 3rd District councilman. An ample campaign fund and, he says, his efforts to curb growth and enlarge crowded schools make him a favorite against Democrat Alan M. Elkin, 38, a political newcomer.

In the 4th District, the 44-year-old Skinner, a Loch Raven Village resident and former Democrat, wants to succeed outgoing Republican Councilman Douglas B. Riley. A long-time civic volunteer, Skinner has worked on everything from troublesome after-hours clubs to the annual Towson July 4th parade.

His opponent, John J. Appel, 73, a semi-retired Towson lawyer, is a frequent candidate and party loyalist who is reprising his 1994 role -- filing at the last minute when no better-known Democrat came forward. Against Riley four years ago, he won 25 percent of the vote.

Crowding an issue

Partly because Owings Mills was targeted 20 years ago for development, schools there have been bursting with new students. Residents have criticized politicians for not providing enough classrooms, libraries and public safety facilities.

Elkin, a Reisterstown father of four, says he became interested in community affairs five years ago, when 11th District Del. Robert L. Frank, another young Democrat, campaigned at his home. Now it's Elkin out knocking on doors, running a classic low-budget, shoe-leather campaign across the sprawling 3rd District, which stretches from Owings Mills north to the Pennsylvania line.

"I don't feel that I'm running against him. I have not been on the streets talking about McIntire. I'm running my own campaign," Elkin says.

Common themes

But he's not shy about criticizing his opponent either, sounding themes common among young parents in the fast-growing northwestern county.

"The community really can't support more development. I have four kids in elementary school and I don't think anybody would say the elementaries are adequate," Elkin said. "Classes are too large, schools are overcrowded, there's not enough textbooks and they're not getting the attention they need."

Elkin, like McIntire, said he wants a broad law forcing development to wait if public facilities aren't keeping up. "Developers have all the say and constituents have none," he said.

McIntire, a former Carroll County state's attorney, scored an upset victory four years ago, beating I. William Chase, a better-financed Democrat.

By this year, McIntire had raised more than $270,000 in campaign funds -- more than any other council member -- and has enough left to counter any challenge, he said.

On growth and school issues, the Hampstead lawyer makes no apologies to anyone.

Standing on record

Two years ago, during the county's comprehensive rezoning, McIntire changed zoning on 9,000 acres of undeveloped watershed land, keeping it rural, and reduced housing densities on hundreds of other parcels, including his own, he says.

He said he has been one of the council's strongest supporters for creating a new law regulating development in fast-growing areas, although no bill has ever passed. And he noted his sponsorship of a recently passed bill limiting the size of buildings near rural lands.

McIntire also noted the millions of dollars poured into school additions and renovations in the area.

"No single councilman has ever done as much as I have to control growth," he said.

In the 4th District, covering the Towson-Ruxton-Timonium area, Skinner is awaiting a pair of fund-raisers: a $35-per-ticket affair on Tuesday, and a $250-per-couple, invitation-only gathering five days later sponsored by Republican Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

Skinner, pointing to his years as a community activist and planning board member, is hoping for an easy victory in November. His opponent, Appel, is a 20-year member of the county Democratic State Central Committee who has made a few public appearances and radio broadcasts, but hasn't been campaigning door-to-door.

Appel is basing his campaign on his long experience as a lawyer and state hearing examiner, his World War II service and advocacy of a tax cut.

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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