5 legislators endorse incumbent Hopkins Democrats praise mayor's leadership


Incumbent Annapolis mayor Al Hopkins received the endorsement yesterday of five Democratic county and state legislators, who hailed his ability to work harmoniously with all levels of government.

Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad, Dels. Michael E. Busch and John C. Astle and council members David G. Boschert and Virginia P. Clagett praised Mr. Hopkins' leadership style, which they described as quiet, but effective.

"My support for Al has been predicated on his tremendous ability to bring people together," Mr. Winegrad said.

Mr. Hopkins, also a Democrat, has formed better relationships between the city and the county, state and federal governments "than any mayor since my term in office," Mr. Winegrad said.

Mr. Busch pointed to four projects that demonstrate what he said was Mr. Hopkins' ability to get things done: the Weems-Whalen Bates Athletic Complex, where the news conference was held; the bricking of State Circle; the construction of Gotts' Court garage; and his role in convincing Gov. William Donald Schaefer to block state funding for a $71 million expansion of the Anne Arundel County Detention Center on the outskirts of Annapolis.

"The fact that he has the ability to walk over to the highest official in the state of Maryland" and convince him not to fund the jail is evidence of Mr. Hopkins' effective leadership style, Mr. Busch said.

"I think the harmony between the different levels of government has been quite evident during Al's four years in office," Mr. Busch said.

Mr. Hopkins quietly thanked his endorsers. "I'm humbled and honored," he said.

Friday's announcement by Mr. Hopkins of Mr. Schaefer's decision to block an $11 million county request to pay for the first phase of jail expansion was perhaps the incumbent's biggest coup in this campaign.

Although a spokesman for Mr. Schaefer gave credit to Mr. Winegrad and Mr. Busch and citizens' groups that organized to oppose the jail, Mr. Hopkins stands to reap the most political benefit from the announcement.

Not surprisingly, Mr. Hopkins' opponents were less than impressed with his latest endorsement.

"The Schaefer thing was an orchestrated thing to shore up his candidacy," Republican candidate Larry Vincent said. "Most people are sophisticated enough to know that these endorsements are [based on] party loyalty."

"I certainly expected the Democrats to endorse a Democrat," said Dennis Callahan, a Democrat running as an independent. "The only endorsement we care about is the voters'."

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