Harford County


Election 2002

September 06, 2002

Today, The Sun continues its Sept. 10 primary endorsements with Harford County local government and legislative recommendations, which are provided by The Aegis, a Sun-owned newspaper.

IN THE SEPT. 10 primary elections, the races for Harford County's two key leadership positions -- county executive and County Council president -- offer only one true contest.

County executive: In the Republican primary, incumbent James M. Harkins faces only nominal opposition from Ronald Roz, a one-issue candidate who is against civilian use of an airfield at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Mr. Harkins gets the nod, for lack of choice. There is no Democratic primary.

Council president: Democrat Gunther Hirsch, a former mayor of Havre de Grace, is unchallenged in the primary.

That leaves the Republican race, which pits a sitting county councilman against a retired police officer. County Councilman Robert S. Wagner is the clear choice.

County Council: The approaching primary is the county's first since dividing council representation among six districts.

District A: In the Democratic race, Samuel T. Gibson III of Edgewood, Dion F. Guthrie of Joppa and Michael Q. Paton of Edgewood are seeking the nomination. Mr. Gibson appears the best of the group.

Incumbent Republican Susan B. Heselton is being challenged by H. Dean Freeman of Joppa, the son of former County Executive Habern Freeman, and Bill McCullough of Edgewood. Mr. Freeman, who previously ran for the County Council as a Democrat, shows promise, but Ms. Heselton has shown an uncommon understanding of the issues of local government.

District B: Republican incumbent Veronica L. Chenowith is unopposed in the primary. Two fairly formidable Democrats will compete Sept. 10 to face her in November. Janice L. McLean of Abingdon, a relative newcomer to Harford County politics, ran unsuccessfully for Baltimore City Council in 1998 and has since moved to Harford. Valerie H. Twanmoh of Fallston ran a strong race four years ago in the same district. Though Ms. McLean is promising, Ms. Twanmoh is a known quantity who has remained active in the making of public policy, most visibly in her short-lived role as a zoning hearing examiner.

District C: The Republican primary is a rematch of the race four years ago when now-incumbent Michael A. Geppi defeated Robert G. Cassilly for the nomination. Mr. Geppi's lackluster council performance pales in comparison to what we've seen from Mr. Cassilly on the Bel Air Town Board. He is an active town commissioner, showing the kind of independent leadership the County Council needs.

The Democrats have two fine candidates in Bel Air lawyer Jack T. Feldman and Joan Morrissey Ward, a former county government planner who resigned her job to seek a council seat. Ms. Ward has shown tremendous vision in shepherding a number of successful planning initiatives to fruition, most notably a community plan for Edgewood. She would bring many strengths to the council.

District D: No primaries.

District E: No Democratic primary. Republicans must choose between political activist Gwen Corkran, whose Bel Air address falls within the district, and retired wrestling legend Richard Slutzky. New to politics, Mr. Slutzky has proved himself a successful leader in athletics, and he deserves the chance to display the same leadership in the county government.

District F: Democrat Philip J. Barker, a one-term county councilman who most recently was mayor of Havre de Grace, faces fellow Havre de Grace native Alex Hathaway. Mr. Barker's experience makes him a better choice than the inexperienced Mr. Hathaway.

In the Republican race, incumbent Cecelia M. Stepp of Havre de Grace is being challenged by Blane H. Miller III, who also lives in Havre de Grace. Voters should stick with Ms. Stepp's experience.

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