Candidates run to the right

Incumbent, challenger press conservative views on abortion, marriage, guns, business

Senate District 33

Maryland Votes 2006

6 days until Election Day

November 01, 2006|By Nia-Malika Henderson | Nia-Malika Henderson,sun reporter

The race for state Senate in the Republican stronghold of District 33 is in many ways a race for the right.

One-term Sen. Janet Greenip said her record of fighting for an amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and woman, sponsoring anti-abortion legislation and raising the limit on the estate tax makes her the ideal representative for the district that includes Severna Park, Crownsville, Crofton, parts of Odenton and most of South County.

Her Democratic challenger, Scott Hymes, a small-business owner and environmental advocate, is stressing his pro-business, pro-gun-rights views. He called Greenip an "entrenched incumbent with a record of partisanship and an inability to sustain relationships with other legislators."

"I have fairly conservative views, too, but she's ineffective and in most cases out of touch with the priorities of the district," he said.

Appealing to conservatives might be a necessity in the district, where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats 38,730 to 31,650, with another 14,490 Independents. The county as a whole is majority Democrat.

As in other parts of Anne Arundel, voters in District 33 are focused on development, traffic, transportation and education. Proposed projects include a controversial shopping center in Wayson's Corner anchored by a 128,531-square-foot Target, a 143,000-square-foot Wal-Mart in Crofton, and a $700 million upgrade to Route 3, the latter of which Greenip, 59, said she supported.

"On the task force, I managed to get all the parties to agree and I'm very happy I did that," the Crofton resident said.

On the education front, she wants a 13th high school in Anne Arundel County that could possibly be a charter school.

As a member of the House from 1995 through 2003, Greenip introduced several unsuccessful bills that would have eliminated the Maryland School Performance Assessment. The test was scrapped in 2002, and Greenip, a retired math teacher, counts that effort as one of her major accomplishments.

In 2004, she sponsored a failed bill that would have required the state to regulate abortion providers. Last year, however, none of her bills made it out of committee.

Greenip blamed "obstructionist Democrats" for her stalled bills.

If re-elected, she said she'll work to strengthen sexual predator legislation and for a voter-verified paper trail.

"Mr. Hymes is an entertainer. I'm a legislator," Greenip said, referring to Hymes' ownership of an entertainment booking company. "I've been doing this for a number of years, and I think I've been doing a good job."

For his part, Hymes, 43, of Crownsville said he would work with legislators and residents to protect the environment and fight against the proposed Wal-Mart and Target.

"I have the energy and ability to work with people, I'm a good leader and a good team player," he said. "This is what we need - not to mention the fact that I'm pretty conservative."

Hymes, who is on the board of the Severn River Association and of the Herald Harbor Citizens Association and president of the Crownsville Conservancy, said he will work to conserve open space and support growth where the infrastructure is already in place.

A 13th high school, preferably in Crofton, could mean a return to community-based schooling in an area where a large portion of teenagers are bused to South River High School in Edgewater, he said.

Hymes favors legalizing slot machines at racetracks, with revenue going to education. Greenip said she'd consider a slots bill that includes county veto power, strict regulations and revenues earmarked for education.

According to campaign finance reports filed last week with the Maryland Board of Elections, the two candidates are close. Greenip raised less money in the reporting period that ended Oct. 27 and spent it at a faster clip but still has $37,266 to spend.

Hymes, who pulled in more than $12,000 in the past two months, had $31,543 heading into the final days before the Nov. 7 election.

nia.henderson@baltsun.com

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