Easy victory for 2nd term Ruppersberger defeats challenger with 71 percent of vote

Election 1998

November 04, 1998|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers Larry Carson and Howard Libit contributed to this article.

Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a likely candidate for governor in four years, easily won re-election last night, and two newcomers will to join the incumbents on the county council next term.

Running on a record of economic development, public safety, schools and community revitalization, the well-funded Democratic county executive defeated Republican challenger John J. Bishop to win a second term in office.

With final results in, Ruppersberger had 71 percent of the vote compared with 29 percent for Bishop.

Brushing aside speculation about a run for governor in 2002, Ruppersberger pledged to continue to focus on the themes that defined his first four years: crime, education, community revitalization and eonomic development.

"I was elected to be county executive, and that's what I'm going to focus on for the next four years," Ruppersberger said last night.

Bishop was sanguine in his loss.

"I entered this race realizing it was an uphill battle," he said. "But I ran an issue-oriented race feel confident I did a good job."

With only a few thousand dollars to spend, Bishop, a former Parkville state delegate, called for cutting income taxes and questioned Ruppersberger's claims about creating new jobs and repairing older neighborhoods.

Bishop, 50, also protested the county's pension system, under which an elected county official can retire at full pay for life, regardless of age, after 20 years service.

If the 52-year-old Ruppersberger serves a full second term, his combined 17 years of county council and executive service would make him eligible for an $89,250 annual pension for life.

Supporters say chances are he won't end his public service in the county executive's post.

Ruppersberger resisted the urging of some party leaders who wanted him to run for governor this time, deciding to bide his time and build a base of support outside the Baltimore area. With a campaign chest of $600,000, he is on his way to amassing a fund for a run at the governor's mansion in 2002.

But last night, Ruppersberger did not want to speculate on whether he would run for governor. "There are a lot of people who might be interested in that job, and I'll see what opportunities are there in four years."

On the county council, newcomers will replace departing councilmen Douglas B. Riley, a Towson Republican who did not seek re-election, and Louis L. DePazzo, a Dundalk Democrat who lost in the September primary.

Riley's seat will go to Republican Wayne B. Skinner, a longtime community activist and former member of the county Planning Board.

Skinner, 44, a Loch Raven Village resident, captured 66 percent of the vote compared with 34 percent for Democrat John J. Appel, 73, a semiretired Towson lawyer.

The 7th District seat will remain under Democratic control with a victory from John A. "Johnny O." Olszewski, a 38-year-old newcomer who defeated DePazzo in the primary. Olszewski faced no Republican on the ballot, although Larry A. Leone, 37, of Edgemere filed as a write-in candidate.

Two incumbents, Catonsville Democrat Stephen G. Sam Moxley, and Perry Hall Democrat Vincent J. Gardina, faced spirited competition, but seemed headed for re-election in the county where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 2-to-1.

Republican Allen Thompson, a political newcomer, failed to put a stop to Gardina's election to a third term. The former president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, who retired this year from a 25-year career in the loan business, criticized the incumbent as being out of touch with the constituents.

Gardina, however, said he has worked to reduce zoning densities throughout the district, to eliminate rundown apartment complexes and to plan for Honeygo, a large new community of homes north of White Marsh.

In the 1st District, Republican John "Jack" Manley, tried to reclaim the seat his wife, Berchie Lee Manley, lost in 1994 to Moxley.

Manley, 71, a retired professor and administrator at Catonsville Community College, charged that Moxley, 39, is too close to Ruppersberger.

In the other council races, Fullerton Democrat Joseph Bartenfelder, Pikesville Democrat Kevin Kamenetz and Owings Mills-North County Republican T. Bryan McIntire handily won re-election.

County voters also approved $195 million in bond issues, mostly to fund repairs to schools, roads, alleys, bridges and storm drains, and voted on three charter amendments. Nearly half of the bond total -- $85 million -- was earmarked for schools, including $1 million in planning money for a new high school in Owings Mills and repairs at older county elementary schools.

Also to be funded through the bond issues are $10.4 million to help pay for the extension of Route 43, White Marsh Boulevard to Interstate 95 and $3.2 million to help fund the extension of Owings Mills Boulevard to Liberty Road; $2.5 million to plan a county detention center and $1.1 million to help pay for Bloomsbury Community Center in Catonsville.

Pub Date: 11/04/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.