McCrone running for state's attorney

Democrat lost to McLendon in '98 by narrow margin

Howard County

February 27, 2002|By Lisa Goldberg | Lisa Goldberg,SUN STAFF

Timothy J. McCrone, the Ellicott City Democrat who nearly beat incumbent Republican Marna L. McLendon in the 1998 race for Howard County state's attorney, announced yesterday that he will make another run for the office.

"I find it very rewarding to be a part of doing justice, and being motivated only by that," McCrone, a 48-year-old father of three and former Howard prosecutor, said yesterday.

In a race that will feature no incumbent - McLendon has said she will not seek a third term - McCrone's announcement at the Judge's Bench restaurant in Ellicott City last night had been long expected.

What remained unclear last night was how the rest of the race for top county prosecutor, a job that pays $100,474 a year, would shape up.

County Republicans have had little success attracting an opponent for McCrone, an attorney in private practice who also represents the Howard police union.

Party officials have approached Dario Broccolino, a registered Democrat who ran against McLendon in 1994 but has served as one of her two deputies for the past three years, about switching parties.

Broccolino, the deputy state's attorney who handles administration and District Court, said yesterday that he has not made a decision whether to run and was "still mulling it over."

Howard County GOP Chairman Louis M. Pope said he believes Broccolino would be a "formidable candidate."

McCrone, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., said yesterday that he expects the 2002 race to be vastly different than the election four years ago.

"With Marna's announcement that she's not running again, it's not about the past. It's only about plans for the future," he said.

In 1998, McCrone led by 166 votes at the end of election day, but lost to McLendon by 94 votes when the absentee ballots were counted two days later.

McCrone's campaign highlighted what he said were McLendon's shortcomings. He pointed then to a seeming revolving door of prosecutors and to the Republican's decision to pass the wiretap investigation of Linda R. Tripp, who secretly recorded her conversations with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, to the state's top prosecutor.

Wendy Fiedler, chairwoman of the Howard County Democratic Party, said given the near-win four years ago, she believes McCrone has "an excellent chance" this year.

"I'm very impressed by Tim. He's very mindful of serving the public," she said. " ... Tim's a great candidate and brings great qualities to the table here."

McCrone said yesterday that, if elected, he plans to take a hands-on approach to the 60-person office, trying cases and working to help prosecutors develop their cases. McLendon has tried few cases during her two terms.

McCrone said he also would like to create a narcotics prosecution team similar to one that was in place during his tenure in the office in the late 1980s - a move he said would bring consistency to drug cases.

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