Delegate's exit opens up primary race

District 33A

Maryland Votes 2006

September 08, 2006|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,Sun reporter

State Del. David G. Boschert's run for county executive has sparked a spirited race in District 33A, where the race to fill his seat in the House of Delegates is wide open.

Del. Tony McConkey is defending the other seat in Tuesday's primary election amid a field of four other Republicans, all newcomers. The three Democrats are also first-time candidates.

The House race in District 33B is uncontested until the November general election.

District 33A has been a Republican stronghold in the county. It encompasses Crofton, Gambrills, Millersville, Crownsville, a swath of Severna Park and Davidsonville. Voters' concerns, particularly in the western portion, are clear-cut: the pace and density of development, a proposed state horse park in Gambrills and rising opposition to a proposed Wal-Mart in Crofton.

McConkey, a Severna Park resident who is wrapping up his first term, said he considers his assignment on the Economic Matters committee critical to constituents.

"A lot of issues are not partisan," he said. "We oversee housing, transportation and the environment and the Department of Natural Resources."

Inspired when he led the state youth group for Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign, McConkey's remained in that political school of thought. The National Rifle Association and anti-abortion groups have endorsed his candidacy, he said. He has raised about $47,300 in campaign contributions by the Aug. 8 filing deadline with the Maryland State Board of Elections.

In 1994, McConkey, 42, was charged twice with battery and once with fourth-degree burglary after a run-in with tenants he was evicting in Prince George's County. The battery charges were dropped, and he received probation before judgment on the burglary charge.

McConkey voluntarily disbarred himself from the practice of law and the state revoked his real estate license in the 1990s after a failed land deal in Prince George's County.

Now a real estate broker, he has recovered from any damage that patchy record caused him, he said, in part because of his "one-on-one" approach to meeting several of the district's 77,000 residents.

McConkey favors switching to an elected school board but as a new delegate in the minority party, that structural change is hard to make.

Like his opponents, McConkey speaks urgently about the need for the long-awaited reconstruction of Route 3. With state and federal highway funds paying the $700 million bill, he says, keeping an eye on the public works project in the State House is important.

McConkey raised $47,270 as of Aug. 8, his campaign finance reports show.

Gambrills resident and fellow Republican James King raised about $90,000, more than any candidate, in his first run for public office. The 32-year-old owner of the Rockfish restaurant in Eastport, a private deli for Sherwood Forest residents and Kaufmann's Tavern in Gambrills, King, who is single, says he's grown to love West County since moving here six years ago.

The business owner has received the endorsement of the clerk of the Circuit Court, Robert P. Duckworth.

Daniel A. Grimes, a firefighter/paramedic for the city of Annapolis, took advantage of the open seat to seize the chance to enter politics. Grimes, 45, who is single, lives in Severna Park. He attended the University of Maryland Baltimore County and then worked for Rep. Marjorie S. Holt.

Characterizing himself as a conservative, Grimes pledged to work across party lines. He puts illegal immigration and improving infrastructure on his to-do list as a state legislator, with the pending Route 3 project foremost among his concerns. He has raised about $1,150 for his campaign.

John H. Hollywood, 62, a managing partner of a financial services firm, is active in his local scene as a county planning advisory board member and as the Greater Crofton Chamber of Commerce president. Regarding the proposal to build a 143,000-square-foot Wal-Mart along Route 3 near the intersection with Cronson Boulevard, he said, "I oppose one at that location."

He favors a county school board appointed by the county executive, rather than the governor, reasoning the rigors of campaigning might keep educational experts away.

Married with one adult son, Hollywood settled in Crofton in 1985 during the last five years of an Army career that criss-crossed global posts, including Vietnam and West Berlin.

He speaks like a "pro-life, pro-gun" Republican, and he recently changed his Democratic party registration. Hollywood had raised nearly $11,000 as of a month ago.

Lawyer Gregory Kline, 35, bills himself as conservative. Among his stances are an elected school board, a taxpayer bill of rights and future land use decisions. He's positioned himself against a state-owned equestrian park on the Navy-owned dairy farm and favors rebuilding Route 3. Before entering private practice, the Severna Park resident and married father of an 8-year-old daughter was a Justice Department trial attorney for four years, he said. Kline raised $7,100 by Aug. 8.

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