Veteran, rookie vie for GOP nod

Both call unserved warrants top issue


Maryland Votes 2006

August 27, 2006|By Bradley Olson | Bradley Olson,Sun reporter

A University of Maryland, Baltimore County police officer and a political rookie who handles Verizon's nationwide emergency calling system will square off for the Republican nominations in the Anne Arundel County sheriff's race.

Both John E. Moran IV and Wally Campbell believe the central issue in the race is how to reduce the number of unserved arrest warrants in the county, now hovering between 11,000 and 12,000.

The outstanding warrants emerged as an issue last week for current Sheriff George F. Johnson IV, when one of his opponents in the race for county executive criticized his management of the department.

As the law enforcement arm of the county court system, the Sheriff's Office serves warrants and protective orders, enforces child-support payments and runs crime prevention and safety programs.

The winner of the Sept. 12 primary will face a well-funded Democratic opponent in Ronald Bateman, currently Johnson's chief deputy.

Moran, 42, is a veteran campaigner, having run for County Council in 1998 and for sheriff in 1994 and 2002. In 1994, he came about 1,000 votes short of defeating then-sheriff Robert G. Pepersack Sr. in the Republican primary. In 2002, he narrowly lost to Johnson in the general election, gaining 70,000 votes, 45 percent of the total, despite being outfunded by about $240,000.

As of Aug. 8, he had raised $16,436 and had $12,807 on hand, although $7,000 was from a loan, according to the State Board of Elections. He has been endorsed by three Republican state delegates in Anne Arundel County: Donald H. Dwyer Jr., Terry R. Gilleland Jr. and Tony McConkey.

Campbell, 54, is a political newcomer who is involved in numerous civic activities near his Severna Park home, including the local lacrosse league, Boy Scouts and the Harundale Presbyterian Church in Glen Burnie. Campbell said he had raised about $5,000 as of Aug. 8, including a $4,000 personal loan. Although Campbell said he filed his finance report on deadline, the report was not available on the Web site of the State Board of Elections.

"I've had a lifelong interest in Republican politics and in public safety," Campbell said. "For me, the timing is right to run for sheriff, and it's a natural fit for my job skills."

The son of a career Army officer, Moran was born in Fayetteville, N.C., moving around the country for his father's duty assignments. He spent his last three years in high school in Maryland, and graduated from Northeast High School in Pasadena. He holds degrees from Anne Arundel Community College, the Johns Hopkins University and the University of Baltimore.

Moran, a Brooklyn Park resident, began his law enforcement career in 1981 as a police officer in the Air Force and has worked as a sheriff's deputy in Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, as well as Baltimore City. He is also a major in the Maryland Army National Guard, having been deployed to Kosovo from 2003 to 2004.

Moran said he is proud of his role in helping to apprehend serial killer Joseph R. Metheny in 1996 while working on an FBI violent crimes task force when he was a deputy sheriff for Baltimore City.

"I want to make the county safer for everyone and their families," Moran said, explaining why he wants to be sheriff.

If elected, Moran said he promises to develop a strategy to process as many of the warrants as possible through arrests, as well as to conduct an audit to analyze why they are outstanding. He also said he would audit the department's finances.

"I think the best thing the sheriff's office can do is to serve the thousands of warrants on file," he said. "There's thousands of wanted people, and by serving the warrants, that's the best way the sheriff's office can make the county safer."

Campbell grew up outside Philadelphia and went to high school in the Swarthmore area. He holds a bachelor's in business administration and economics from Grove City College in Grove City, Pa. After graduating, he took a job with a floor covering company and lived all over the country. He came to Baltimore in 1981 to work for the telephone company that, after several changes in ownership, is now Verizon.

Today, Campbell said he manages a budget that exceeds $100 million, more than 10 times the size of the sheriff's department's.

He is proud of the work he's done in his career to help major metropolitan areas update their 911 systems.

Campbell said he will use his understanding of technology to reduce the number of outstanding warrants.

"I'm an outsider, not an insider, in all this," he said. "There has to be ways and efficiencies to streamline the process. It's obvious that the current process is broken."

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.