Diverse 12th District a test for incumbents

House seats, Senate post contested in primary race

August 20, 2002|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

The outcome of this year's race for the seats in the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates in the 12th District may well depend on whether the incumbent legislators representing such diverse communities as Columbia and Lansdowne have kept in touch with their constituents.

"It's a very unique and diverse district and the best way to stay on top of it is to be responsive to constituent problems," said state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer of Columbia. He and Del. James E. Malone Jr., the two 12th District incumbents, ranked constituent service as their top priority.

Kasemeyer, 57, a community affairs specialist for the Injured Workers Insurance Fund, is running in the Democratic Senate primary against Frank C. Fillmore, a 57-year-old computer consultant from Ellicott City.

FOR THE RECORD - A map in yesterday's editions depicting the boundary lines of Maryland Legislative District 12A and 12B with an article on the 12th District primary was incorrect.
An article about the 12th District legislative race that appeared Aug. 20 gave the wrong age for Frank C. Fillmore, a Democratic candidate for the Maryland Senate seat. He is 45.
The Sun regrets the errors.

Fillmore said that he entered the race after he went through a divorce last year and realized that the needs of some groups and people across the state are being ignored.

"If you think that half of all marriages out there end in divorce, that's a lot of people and a lot of them must have the same kinds of frustrations dealing with the system," he said.

Campaign funding

He said he hopes to raise $30,000 and use it in for direct mailings before the primary. "I'm operating a campaign on a shoestring, but that's the way it goes when you're running against the incumbent," he said. His campaign finance report filed Aug. 13 with the state Board of Elections, however, shows a zero balance.

By contrast, Kasemeyer has a campaign fund of $72,301, according to his finance report.

The winner of the Kasemeyer-Fillmore Senate primary will face Mike Sneeringer Sr., 67, a retired insurance broker from Catonsville, who is unopposed in the Republican primary.

The 12th District covers Catonsville, Arbutus, Lansdowne, Oella and parts of eastern Howard County.

The district is divided into two portions, with two delegates elected from 12A to represent Baltimore and Howard county communities. State Del. Elizabeth Bobo, a Democrat and a former Howard County executive, is running unopposed for the 12B seat representing communities in Howard County.

One senator will represent the 12th District.

In the House race for District 12A, Malone, a Baltimore County firefighter and a two-term incumbent, is emphasizing community service in his campaign.

He carries a pager to make sure constituents can reach him and prides himself on responding to "every page" within 24 hours.

"The average person doesn't know and doesn't care about what we do in Annapolis. They want to know that if they call their elected official, they'll get a response," he said.

Democratic ticket

Malone and Kasemeyer are running on a ticket with Steven J. DeBoy Sr., a retired Baltimore County police officer, and incumbent Baltimore County Councilman Stephen G. Samuel Moxley, an unopposed Catonsville Democrat.

DeBoy, who also works as a civilian investigator in the Howard County police department, is making his second bid for the House, after losing by 251 votes in 1998 to Del. Donald E. Murphy. Murphy's home was taken out of the district in boundaries created this year, and he is not seeking re-election.

"I feel like I didn't finish what I set out to do," said DeBoy, 46, of Halethorpe.

DeBoy said he considers public safety, education and maintaining infrastructure in the district's aging communities as top priorities. He also feels that being a police officer makes him a good choice to serve in the General Assembly.

"I'd consider being in the legislature like a continuation of what's been a public service career, that's how I look at it," he said.

DeBoy and Malone are opposed in the Democratic primary by Craig Ring, a machinist who works in the mechanical maintenance department of Sweetheart Cup, the paper products maker based in Owings Mills.

Ring, 49, of Catonsville said he plans to spend no money on his campaign but hopes news of his candidacy will spread by word of mouth.

He said he entered the race because he thinks that many Annapolis legislators have lost touch with the average worker.

"I think the average politician doesn't understand the working man. They're not in tune with what's going on in a working man's life," he said.

He added that he would like to do more to improve the state's business climate because environmental regulations and economic policies are driving jobs from the state.

"Maryland's not friendly to business, and we ought to change that," he said.

Court records show that Ring was charged by the state natural resources police with failing to obey an order May 31, 1999, after he refused to leave Patapsco Valley State Park about 7 p.m.

He was angry that police confiscated items from one of his sons and demanded to speak to a police supervisor. He was arrested after refusing to leave. He was released later that night on $500 bond, court records show.

Prosecutors later dismissed the charge, court records show.

Ring said he received a letter from natural resources police officials apologizing. But he said the incident left a lasting impression.

Two Republicans are also seeking House seats, J.F. Korrell Jr., 65, of Catonsville, a retired naval officer, and Joe Hooe, 33, who owns a car repair and tire business. They are unopposed in the primary.

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