Retain Curran as attorney general Sun endorsement: Three-term veteran runs capable office handling state's legal affairs.

October 24, 1998

COMPARING the two nominees for attorney general of Maryland leaves no doubt that J. Joseph Curran Jr. is the more capable candidate.

He has 12 years' experience in the office. Previously, he served four years as lieutenant governor and 24 years as a Baltimore state senator -- including 16 years as chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. He ran a private legal practice for 23 years. He knows the law. He understands the inner workings of government.

Mr. Curran stands up for his convictions. He is one of the most down-to-earth elected officials in Maryland, whose sincerity and integrity are rock-solid.

He has also been a competent attorney general, surrounding himself with good lawyers who give legal guidance to state agencies, defend the state in court and work with local prosecutors on complex prosecutions.

Much of Mr. Curran's thrust this past term has been in consumer protection, especially working to curb scam artists and telemarketing fraud of the elderly. He has joined with other state attorneys general to focus on reducing television violence and family violence.

His opponent, Paul H. Rappaport, has had a long career in law enforcement, first as a 28-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and then as police chief of Howard County for eight years. He has been a lawyer since 1975.

He has raised some valid con- cerns, such as the mishandling by the attorney general's office of state police drug stops along Interstate 95 when questions arose about racial discrimination. That misstep, which may have led to a steep drop in drug seizures along I-95 in 1997, has been corrected.

Most of Mr. Rappaport's allegations of things gone awry in the attorney general's office are unsubstantiated. That is not sufficient reason to replace Mr. Curran.

We endorse Mr. Curran. He is a knowledgeable, steadying influence in state government who can be counted on to do what is right.

Pub Date: 10/24/98

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