Internist to run for Senate in Balto. Co.

December 14, 2005|By DAVID NITKIN | DAVID NITKIN,SUN REPORTER

Scott Rifkin, a medical doctor, businessman and brother of a well-known State House lobbyist, says he is running for state Senate, spicing the political brew bubbling in northwest Baltimore County.

Rifkin has scheduled an event for tonight at the Pikesville Hilton to raise money for his bid for the 11th District seat held by Sen. Paula C. Hollinger. Hollinger has decided to run for Congress rather than seek re-election.

"I've been as fortunate ... as anyone alive," Rifkin, 46, said in an interview. "It's time to give something back."

Married and the father of three, Rifkin is an internist who has also founded several businesses, including one which runs rehabilitation and long-term care centers.

He is the brother of Alan Rifkin, who was a member of Gov. William Donald Schaefer's administration and is now managing partner of Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver, a prominent lobbying and law firm that ranks among the state capital's top earners.

Alan Rifkin is best known for his representation of the Baltimore Orioles and a cable network co-owned by Peter G. Angelos. His firm has also worked for the Maryland Jockey Club and co-owner Joseph A. De Francis in its quest for slot-machine gambling.

Scott Rifkin said he did not think his brother's Annapolis connections would affect his chances. "He's kept clean and done a very good job in a difficult industry," Rifkin said.

His entrance into the Democratic primary means that Del. Bobby A. Zirkin, who has been campaigning aggressively for the Senate seat, has opposition.

"It's not going to change my approach at all," said Zirkin, who also has scheduled a fundraiser for today. "I've been campaigning nonstop since the [legislative] session ended. I've been knocking on doors since April."

Alan Rifkin said that he has met with Zirkin to clear the air about his brother's candidacy. "Delegate Zirkin has been a gentleman about the whole situation," he said. "He recognizes that anyone's brother or sister that cares to wade into politics is a healthy thing. Politics is built on competitive elections."

The state Senate race is one of several that will vie for the attention of voters in Owings Mills, Reisterstown and surrounding areas. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Baltimore County resident, is hoping for a heavy turnout there in his race for U.S. Senate, and the Democratic primary to choose his successor has attracted a crowded field that includes Hollinger.

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. also is hoping to draw large numbers of voters from the area - as he did in 2002 -in his re-election bid.

david.nitkin@baltsun.com

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