Guzzone out of race in Howard

Democrat won't run for executive

Baltimore & Region

September 27, 2005|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,sun reporter

Two-term county councilman and presumptive Democratic candidate for Howard County executive Guy Guzzone said yesterday he would not run for the office for personal reasons, throwing the contest wide open.

County Executive James N. Robey, a Democrat, cannot seek re-election because of term limits, though he is thought to be considering a state Senate bid next year. Democrats control the County Council by a 3-2 majority.

Guzzone, 41, who has three children and grew up an only child in Parkville, said his decision is due to his 81-year old father's heart disease and tenuous physical condition, and the need to help both his parents and his own family.

"I'm the classic sandwich generation person at this time," said Guzzone, who revealed his decision in a letter to supporters. "All we really have to give to other people is our time. I intend to do that."

The election for county executive next year is shaping up to be a potentially bruising battle over a vision of the future for wealthy Howard, where Robey has raised income taxes and expanded government over Republican opposition and criticism.

Robey said he talked to Guzzone about his decision last week.

"I'm not surprised, although I'm disappointed," Robey said, adding that he knew about Guzzone's struggle with the time demands of public service while caring for his elderly parents and his own family.

Guzzone, who said he would run for the House of Delegates in District 13, said he made the announcement at this time in order to give others a chance to consider a campaign and get organized.

The decision leaves the Democratic Party without a clear candidate for the top job, while county Republicans appear united behind Ellicott City councilman Christopher J. Merdon, 34, a two-term council member who has been campaigning for weeks.

"Fortunately for us, we have a deep bench. There will be at least one or two very good, qualified candidates who will come out and run," said Wendy Fiedler, county Democratic party chairwoman.

Names of potential candidates mentioned by most observers include school board chairman Courtney Watson, 43, and Councilman Ken Ulman, 31, a West Columbia Democrat.

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