New district poses dilemma for Carroll delegates

Three incumbents left looking at two seats

January 13, 2002|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF


An article and a caption under a photograph of Republican Del. Nancy R. Stocksdale on Page 3B Sunday about Carroll's proposed redistricting might have given the impression that Stocksdale has not made up her mind about seeking re-election. She will seek re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates.

A slight change in Gov. Parris N. Glendening's legislative redistricting plan for Maryland could leave one of three incumbent Carroll delegates without a job come November.

Under the original redistricting plan, three at-large delegates would have represented the redrawn 5th District, which would include a large chunk of Carroll and the northern part of Baltimore County. The revised plan, however, subdivides the district, drawing a line nearly along the border of Carroll and Baltimore counties, leaving Carroll two delegates and assigning northern Baltimore County its own delegate. The new plan would force some Carroll residents in and around Hampstead to vote for the new Baltimore County delegate seat.

Under the original redistricting proposal presented last month, Carroll Republican incumbents Nancy R. Stocksdale, Joseph M. Getty and Carmen Amedori could have vied to fill the 5th District's three at-large seats in the House of Delegates.

But with subdistricts created and one of three 5th District seats now slated for a Baltimore County resident, the three Republican incumbents face the unhappy prospect of running against one another for the two remaining seats.

The General Assembly could further alter the plan, but political observers deem that unlikely.

"We respect each other as legislators, and we work very well together, so it does put us in a precarious position having to think about running against each other," Amedori said.

Added Getty: "It's very tough. We work well together as a team, and that's unusual for Annapolis."

Stocksdale did not return telephone calls but has said she probably would seek re-election and does not plan to move. Getty and Amedori said the three will spend the next few weeks discussing their intentions for the November elections.

Amedori has the fewest family ties in her district and she would consider moving to South Carroll and running in the new single-delegate district there, she said. Such a move would leave Getty and Stocksdale to run for the two Carroll seats in the 5th District.

"That could be a solution," said Getty, who has no plans to leave his home in Manchester or step away from the Assembly. "But I think we'll spend some time digesting what's happened."

Getty and other leaders in Republican-dominated Carroll said the county has become a pawn in a Glendening scheme to jam as many Republicans into as few districts as possible, clearing the rest of the state for Democratic rule. The governor has splintered Carroll's legislative map, combining the southern part of the county with the Howard County-dominated 9th District, adding about 32,000 Baltimore County voters to the 5th District and leaving a sliver of western Carroll in a district controlled by Frederick County.

The plan would leave Carroll with more total representatives but none who would represent the county exclusively.

"I've said all along that my major disappointment with the governor's plan is that it fractures us into all these shared districts," Getty said. "And the obvious result of that is a fractured voice in Annapolis."

The plan has drawn criticism from Democrats as well.

"This redistricting is lousy. It cuts up the county," said state Treasurer Richard N. Dixon, for years the lone Democrat in Carroll's House delegation. "Every one of our legislators has to serve two masters. It is not good. There will be less voice for Carroll."

Dixon said the county needs a Democratic representative, however, because Democrats run Annapolis and will do so for the foreseeable future.

Besides the broader indignities, Getty said, the governor's plan would create some smaller peculiarities. For example, voters on one side of Main Street in Hampstead would vote for the two delegates from Carroll while voters on the other side would vote for the 5th District's lone delegate from Baltimore County. The governor had to shave off a small portion of Carroll voters and add them to Baltimore County so that subdistrict would have enough voters.

"I thought the guidelines for this process said existing communities shouldn't be broken up," Getty said. "I don't think what you see in Hampstead fits in very well with that."

The original redistricting map was drawn by a committee of four Democrats and a Republican appointed by Glendening. The redistricting panel is charged with recommending to the governor changes to the state's legislative map to reflect population changes in the 2000 Census. The revised plan, submitted by Glendening on Wednesday, becomes law after 45 days, meaning it will be in effect for the 2002 elections.

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