Delegate sees self as target

THE POLITICAL GAME

Democrat: Neil F. Quinter of Howard County claims Republicans are out to defeat him in 2006 because of his gun-control views.

December 30, 2003|By David Nitkin and Larry Carson | David Nitkin and Larry Carson,SUN STAFF

DEL. NEIL F. Quinter says there's a bull's-eye on his back because of his gun-control views.

Quinter, an outspoken first-term Democrat from a competitive Howard County district, is a lead sponsor of legislation to ban assault weapons in Maryland.

Supporters of the bill say it is needed because a federal ban is about to expire.

"The Maryland Republican Party has put me on its `target list' for defeat," Quinter said in a fund-raising message to supporters this month.

"I also recently found out that a group of pro-gun activists met at Howard County Republican Party headquarters for the sole purpose of coming up with a strategy for defeating me because of the Maryland assault weapons ban that I am sponsoring in the House."

It's not clear, however, whether Quinter has attracted as much concern within the GOP ranks as he thinks he has.

State Republican Chairman John Kane, who sometimes carries a binder marked "target list" containing the names of Democratic state senators and delegates he believes are vulnerable in 2006, says he doesn't think Quinter's name is contained in its pages.

"I wouldn't know the guy if I bumped into him on a sidewalk," Kane said.

Howard County Republican Chairman Louis M. Pope said the 13th District - represented by Republican state Sen. Sandra B. Schrader and three Democratic delegates, including Quinter - is an area where his party can be competitive.

But "there is not a specific list for defeat," Pope said.

Still, Quinter's name does get mentioned in some circles as a potential target for defeat.

Edward L. Patrick, president of the pro-gun rights Maryland Citizens Defense League and a candidate for state Senate last year, said the group did meet recently in offices used by the county GOP "to discuss things going on and prepare for 2006."

"If Quinter makes himself a worthy target, a lot of people will be focusing on him," Patrick said.

And Quinter might receive the attention of the Associated Gun Clubs of Baltimore, said legislative vice president John H. Josselyn. The group was involved in helping defeat former House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. of Allegany County last year.

"If we don't take some sort of action, we look impotent," Josselyn said. "At this point, my association is not making a commitment."

So Quinter may have some reason to worry. But he also may be highlighting his opposition in an attempt to galvanize supporters.

"It's amazing how many of these guys want to be on a list, because it helps them with fund raising," Kane said.

@SUBHEDEhrlich high-ranking aide returning to former post

The Ehrlich administration started the year with three former congressional chiefs of staff in high-ranking positions. Now there are two.

Edward F. McDonald, a deputy chief of staff to Ehrlich, is returning to his previous position as chief of staff and press secretary to U.S. Rep. Howard Coble, a North Carolina Republican. His last day in Annapolis is today.

Coble is interested in contending for the chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee, and McDonald said he wants to help his former boss raise the money and participate in party-building activities necessary to be competitive.

"It's a little bit of a long shot," said McDonald, a Baltimore native. "There are so many factors."

As deputy chief of staff, McDonald served as the governor's liaison to a variety of agencies, including transportation, the environment, natural resources, planning and housing and community development. No replacement has been named.

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