Ehrlich campaigns against Democrats

POLITICAL NOTEBOOK

July 30, 2006|By LARRY CARSON

Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. brought his hometown appeal and his hot GOP campaign rhetoric to steamy Arbutus on Thursday to help launch the Republican state Senate campaign of Richard I. Martel, Jr., a 48-year-old lawyer. He hopes to unseat veteran Democratic state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer in District 12, which covers parts of southwestern Baltimore County, and Elkridge and west Columbia in Howard.

Also attending were GOP House of Delegates candidates Joe Hooe and Albert L. Nalley. They seek to replace Dels. James E. Malone Jr. and Steven J. DeBoy.

Democrat Elizabeth Bobo is the district's third delegate, representing a separate single-member district covering west Columbia.

The Democrats, Ehrlich said, are "partisan, far left" and "do not reflect the values of this community."

Martel, standing before about 100 people on the porch of his law office, asked, "Does it bother you who voted to elect our hometown governor by almost 60 percent in 2002, that the incumbent senator and delegates from District 12 voted straight liberal party line, and voted to override the vetoes of our own hometown governor?"

Martel, of Catonsville, added that "the liberals in Annapolis are no longer in the mainstream, and they are voting more like Baltimore City or Prince George's County representatives than the more moderate views of you, the majority in District 12."

Kasemeyer later disagreed with the attempt to label him and the delegates liberals. "I think fundamentally the three of us are moderates and certainly in the mainstream," he said. "We've certainly supported the governor on some of his initiatives."

Malone, a Fire Department lieutenant in Baltimore County, said he and his committee supported the governor's Chesapeake Bay "flush tax," and he and DeBoy sponsored a slots bill that was passed by the House of Delegates.

"I don't believe in negative politics. My dad always told me, don't get in the gutter. I'm proud of what I have done and what I have not done," he said.

DeBoy, a retired Baltimore County police officer, dismissed the speeches as "political rhetoric. My report card will be out Nov. 7."

Independent

This week, C. Stephen Wallis, the independent county executive candidate, expects to file his petitions containing about 2,400 names of registered voters -- more than enough to get his name on the county's general election ballot in November. Wallis needs about 1,800 valid voter signatures before the Aug. 7 deadline.

Wallis, along with anti-"Comp Lite" organizer Angela Beltram and third-party U.S. Senate candidate Kevin B. Zeese, spoke last week at a second meeting of independent voters organized by Mona Brinegar at the Miller branch library in Ellicott City.

About 35 people attended Monday night, but all but about a dozen were either candidates, their volunteers, staff or reporters.

Wallis urged voters to support him as an alternative to "big party, big money rhetoric." Current officials, he said, "don't listen to the people."

Wallis said he feels he can win, despite skepticism from many, but "if we're not as successful as we'd hope to be, it's not the end of the world."

Wallis, principal of Harper's Choice Middle School, said he plans to retire from the school system next July, if he isn't elected county executive.

Zeese, the candidate of the Green, Populist and Libertarian parties, reinforced Wallis' view by saying the two-party system is a trap for Americans in that "it's really one party with two arms."

Merdon HQ

Christopher J. Merdon, the Republican county executive candidate, opened a campaign headquarters Thursday night in a vacant retail gift store next to Pine Orchard Liquors on U.S. 40 in western Ellicott City.

Beverly Wilhide, who served as chief of staff for former two-term GOP County Executive Charles I. "Chuck" Ecker, is Merdon's campaign director of operations, leading a small staff.

Wilhide "is a huge boost to our team," Merdon said, and she urged the 35 people who attended to sign up as volunteers and help distribute signs and bumper stickers.

"We'd like to win the bumper sticker-sign war," she said.

Democrat Ken Ulman, also a candidate for executive, said he will also be opening a headquarters shortly.

Police, firefighters

Howard County police and firefighters have submitted petitions with 10,304 names asking voters to approve a charter change to allow binding arbitration.

Police union Secretary Dan Besseck said the nonbinding arbitration system now in use "has basically been a miserable failure." He said that in the half-dozen times the process has been used over the past decade, an arbitrator makes recommendations but "the county just rejects it."

If approved, the charter amendment would not directly create binding arbitration. It would enable the County Council to consider a bill to enact binding arbitration.

larry.carson@baltsun.com

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