Bates to fill House seat

Counties' GOP panels reach agreement after week of turmoil

Wisniewski won't contest

Decision forwarded to governor, who has 15 days to appoint her

Howard County

January 30, 2002|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

After a week's turmoil and uncertainty, Gail H. Bates was chosen to fill a House of Delegates vacancy from western Howard County last night after Montgomery County Republicans finally agreed with their Howard brethren.

Both county state central committees plan to send letters to Gov. Parris N. Glendening today, according to their respective chairmen, and upstart candidate Anthony C. Wisniewski agreed not to contest the decision to back Bates and not to run for the seat in November. Glendening has 15 days to appoint Bates, who is an aide to Del. Donald E. Murphy.

"I'm delighted. I'm really excited and raring to go," Bates said from her West Friendship home after the meeting.

"The issue now is I need to do the job and show them I'm capable," she said.

The leaders of both county parties, Louis M. Pope of Howard and Allen Prettyman of Montgomery, said Wisniewski came to the meeting with eight or nine supporters but agreed after the closed session to abide by the decision. Wisniewski could not be reached last night.

Prettyman said his committee voted 8-5 to endorse Bates, despite having voted 9-7 to recommend Wisniewski last week. The change, he said, came with the realization that Montgomery County has two precincts in the district now and will have none in November's new districts.

Still, Prettyman, Pope and Bates praised Wisniewski's drive and ambition, and encouraged him to remain active and try again.

"As far as we were concerned, he should be groomed for election somewhere. He is a rising star," Prettyman said.

Bates said, "I think he has the potential for a bright future in politics."

The vacancy was created when Robert H. Kittleman resigned the seat to become a state senator, replacing former Sen. Christopher J. McCabe, who left to take a Bush administration job.

Although Bates was an early favorite among Howard County Republicans, Wisniewski made a strong bid for the appointment, despite Bates' much longer experience.

Bates, 56, was a Republican central committee member for a decade until 1990, when she began working as a top aide to Republican County Executive Charles I. Ecker. In 1998, she ran for County Council.

Wisniewski, 28, is a lawyer with the firm Tydings and Rosenberg. He graduated from Mount Hebron High School and worked as an intern for U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, a Western Maryland Republican.

Last week, Wisniewski was able to persuade a slim majority of Montgomery Republicans to recommend him for the delegate's seat. The next night, Howard's committee unanimously chose Bates. If the two groups were unable to agree, both names would have gone to the governor, giving Glendening, a Democrat, the choice of whom to appoint.

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