Delegate Aris T. Allen's hand-picked successor officially announced plans yesterday to seek the vacant District 30 House of Delegates seat.
"I'm committed to doing what I can to continue Dr. Allen's workas a bridge builder between the races, the socio-economic classes and between the parties," Dallas Evans said at an 11:45 a.m. press conference at an Annapolis church.
At least four other Republicans have said they want the seat, opened when Allen, 80, died in an apparent suicide Feb. 8.
"I didn't see anything in (the Maryland constitution) as far as hand-picked successors," said Phillip Bissett, who also was a candidate in November's election. "Everybody is eligible."
Other candidates are Joan Beck, county Republican State Central Committee vice chairman; Stuart Morris, a central committee member; and Patrick Ogle, a County Council candidate last November.
John Rice, a member of the Annapolis GOP central committee, and Greg Baldwin, an Annapolis businessman, also have requested applications, said Laura Green Treffer, chairman of thecounty central committee.
No one had filed by late yesterday afternoon, Treffer said. Deadline for applications is Thursday, she said.
The 13-member county GOP State Central Committee will recommend acandidate to Gov. William Donald Schaefer March 2. The governor willhave 15 days to appoint that candidate or request another.
Allen,who shot himself after learning he had terminal cancer, mailed letters to prominent Republicans recommending Evans as his replacement. Evans, a black businessman and member of the county Planning Advisory Board, was Allen's campaign treasurer.
Yesterday, Evans' supporters, including Allen's wife, gathered at the First Baptist Church on West Washington Street.
"My husband often said to me, 'Anyone who canget up earlier than me and work harder than I can is a great and worthy person,' " Dr. Faye Allen said after the press conference. "I'm not just doing this because of my husband, but after watching Dallas, I know he is a good person."
"I became a card-carrying Republican when I came to Annapolis 47 years ago," said the Rev. Leroy Bowman, Evans' minister. "And I have worked for the election of Republicans all the way back to Joe Alton Sr.
"Now I don't think I can serve my party any better than to recommend this young man."
Evans, who chaired George Bush's 1988 presidential campaign in Annapolis, said he had been considering bids for County Council and the House of Delegates in 1994.
"I always knew I was going to seek public office, but Ididn't know the timetable," Evans said. "We don't always have control over events."
Allen's Democratic colleagues in the House have said they hope the GOP central committee nominates someone who shares Allen's political philosophies.
"It would be unfair to select someone who didn't reflect (Dr. Allen's) agenda -- that could be his viewson abortion, it could be his views on senior citizens or the environment," said Delegate Michael Busch, D-Annapolis.
"I don't think Dr. Allen endorsed Dallas because of any form of patronage," Busch said. "Dr. Allen was not a frivolous man; he thought Dallas Evans was thebest qualified."
Several GOP officials -- including former U.S. Representative Marjorie Holt -- have said they support Allen's recommendation. But others say Bissett, a Mayo resident and a conservative, may have an edge because of his previous campaign experience and close political ties to County Executive Robert Neall.
Bissett said hebelieves he demonstrated commitment to the job last November, as well as an ability to raise campaign money and to garner votes. Bissett raised about $20,000 and finished fifth with 12,884 votes in the racefor three seats. By comparison, Allen finished second with 16,375 votes.
"Putting those three things together, I'd say yes, that givesme an advantage," Bissett said.