Owens purchases a home in 3rd District

March 04, 2006|By PHILLIP MCGOWAN | PHILLIP MCGOWAN,SUN REPORTER

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens has purchased a 1,100-square-foot house in the 3rd Congressional District, a move that would allow her to claim residency there should she mount a campaign for Congress this fall.

Owens, who owns county homes in two other congressional districts, has been signaling that she plans to join the field vying for the 3rd District congressional seat now held by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, who is running for the U.S. Senate.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Owens confirmed that she and her husband, attorney David Sheehan, purchased a two-story home on Crownsville Road because of its location in the 3rd District, in which Anne Arundel residents are a third of the population.

Owens said the house is two miles from her Millersville home in the 1st District. The Democrat also owns a family farm in southern Anne Arundel County in the 5th District.

She declined to comment on any moving plans.

Congressional candidates are not required to live in the district in which they run, but political analysts say it's advisable.

Dan Nataf, head of the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College, called it "a shame" that Owens would need to move a short distance to keep from being labeled a carpetbagger. But he acknowledged the political necessity of candidates living in the area they want to represent. He said not doing so "would leave her vulnerable."

Owens, completing her second four-year term as executive, cannot run for re-election because of term limits. Seven Democrats and one Republican have announced plans to run in the 3rd District, which includes parts of Anne Arundel, Baltimore and Howard counties and Baltimore City.

Carolyn Surrick, former owner of the Crownsville property, said the home on an acre was put on the market in January for $425,900 and sold last month for $405,000, according to information obtained from Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc., which tracks home sales. . The home was listed as having one bedroom and two baths.

Owens returned this week from a five-day trip to Israel, a last-minute journey that she said she made with an eye toward a potential congressional candidacy. Besides visiting several holy sites, she met with two businesses that want to establish a presence in the county.

"I wanted to get a better understanding of Israel ... and of the issues there," Owens said.

Nataf said he is surprised that Owens remains formally uncommitted to the congressional race given her recent actions.

Said Nataf: "How can she turn back now?"

phill.mcgowan@baltsun.com

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