1 Schrader in, one out in Madden succession

Dennis Schrader gives support to wife

Howard County

October 30, 2001|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

The search for Senate Minority Leader Martin G. Madden's replacement narrowed last night when Dennis R. Schrader said he won't seek Madden's seat but will support the candidacy of his wife, Sandra.

"I know the district very well. I've worked in politics for 14 years. I'm throwing my hat in the ring," Sandra Schrader said after an hourlong Republican Party meeting at the library in Savage.

Two other candidates remain in the intra-party contest for appointment to Madden's seat - county party Chairman Louis M. Pope and Bob Adams, a Long Reach resident trying for his first public office.

Pope hinted that he could drop out to aid party unity by the time a vote comes in January, saying, "I want what's best for the party," and "I like Sandy very much." Adams, however, said he is "absolutely" staying in the contest. "It's full speed ahead," he said.

Madden did not directly endorse anyone but came close. Asked his preference after the meeting, the retiring state senator said, "I think she'd [Sandra Schrader] make an excellent replacement."

Dennis Schrader, vice president for project planning and development at University of Maryland Hospital, is a former Howard County councilman who ran for county executive in 1998. Now, he said, he is too involved in a major building expansion at the hospital and other duties to break away.

"The best person for the job right now is Sandy," he said, noting that his wife has been Madden's legislative aide for 11 years. "She and I have been partners in this [political] thing for 14 years."

Howard's Republicans are also expecting the loss of state Sen. Christopher J. McCabe, who is being considered for a job in the Bush administration.

Madden, 52, announced Sept. 10 that he intends to resign before the 2002 General Assembly session, ending his 11-year political career.

The moderate Republican, known for his leadership of Senate Republicans and for helping to craft the state's welfare reform, said last night that he decided not to run for re-election so he could spend more time at home and to take advantage of new business opportunities.

In order not to burden his party with a lame duck Senate leader, he decided to step down a year before his term ends and give his replacement a step up in the 2002 election.

Madden said he will resign Jan. 7, just before the start of the annual 90-day session. That means local GOP central committee members want to have a replacement ready to appoint.

Howard and Prince George's counties' Republican state central committees will choose Madden's replacement, because although Madden's district is mainly in southeastern Howard County, it also covers nine precincts across the county line in Laurel.

If both Howard and Prince George's Republicans agree on one person, Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening will be required to choose that person for the seat. If the two party central committees cannot agree, the governor gets to choose a Republican for the seat.

Democrats expect Glendening to redraw legislative district lines next year in a way to give Democrats the best shot at winning the seat in next year's election.

Last night, Pope predicted the district will move north farther into Columbia, and away from Laurel and territory west of U.S. 29. That would create an even more lopsided majority of registered Democrats.

Del. Robert H. Kittleman, minority leader of the House of Delegates, warned the roughly 40 Republicans at the meeting that it is important for the GOP to keep control of at least one branch of the local legislative delegation "so they [Democrats] couldn't pass any crazy stuff."

Local bills must win approval of the county's eight delegates and three senators voting separately.

Five-term County Council veteran C. Vernon Gray, a Democrat, is angling to make the race in a newly drawn district that would include most of his current council district east of U.S. 29.

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