Philip Bissett, one of two Republicans vying for three delegate seats, has singled out eight votes by Astle and Busch during the last four years that he said are out of step with voters in the district, which stretches from Lower Broadneck to Shady Side.
"They spend too much of my money, of other taxpayers' money," Bissett said Friday. "They spend without seeming to give it a second consideration."
Astle and Busch voted to increase the governor's salary by 40 percent, ban the death penalty for children and outlaw corporeal punishment in county schools, Bissett said.
They also approved a 5-cent increase in the gasoline tax in 1987, a $20 million "slush fund" to encourage economic development in 1988 and a $3.7 million bomb shelter for the governor in 1990, he said.
"We certainly did vote against executing children and the mentally retarded," Astle said. "If Phil wants to set himself apart, this certainly does it. This sets him way beyond fiscal responsibility."
Astle said Bissett's views appear increasingly "arch-conservative," which the two-term delegate said will not do well in the Annapolis region.
The first-year of the 5-cent gas tax increase paid for Maryland's nine new Medevac helicopters, Astle said.
And, without that money in future years, he said, improvements to state roads, including the intersection of routes 2 and 214 in the district, will be impossible.
Astle said he initially voted for the $3.7 million emergency operations center, which he said the press dubbed a "bomb shelter," but the project was dropped when lawmakers finally balanced the state budget this spring.
To set himself apart from Astle, Busch, Republican Aris Allen and Democrat Edith Segree, Bissett said he plans to wage an aggressive campaign, planning additional attacks on the incumbents' records during the coming weeks.
"My votes will represent a smaller, more sensible government that is responsive to the needs and concerns of the average, middle-income taxpayer," Bissett said in a statement to the media last week.