Baltimore County executive candidate Melvin G. Mintz this week held his first and only major fund-raising event of this campaign season at a site selected to illustrate how his political support has expanded beyond his 2nd Councilmanic District Pikesville base.
Mr. Mintz, a two-term county councilman, said he chose Martin's Eudowood in Towson for the Tuesday night event, because it was a central county location and helped him to underscore his campaign theme that he is a candidate for all the county.
About 500 supporters who paid $80 a ticket attended and another 500 bought tickets, he said.
In a speech, Mr. Mintz noted that he is the only executive candidate with an office in the eastern county.
That becomes important because the east side, which has no local candidate for executive, is acknowledged by candidates and political observers as the area where the race will be decided.
No elected officials on the east side have endorsed Mr. Mintz. They are staying out of the race or, like E. Farrell Maddox, the Essex delegate who chairs the county House delegation, have endorsed Mr. Mintz's Democratic rival, County Councilman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III of Cockeysville.
In the speech, Mr. Mintz attacked Mr. Ruppersberger for making promises to "special interest" county groups, such as for higher pay, to gain their endorsements, actions that could cost taxpayers money.
"Remember, when you go Dutch, you pay," said Mr. Mintz to the cheers of the crowd.
With the proceeds from the fund-raiser, the candidate said, he now has raised $380,000.
"Our goal is to raise about $400,000 for the campaign, so we're just about there," said Mr. Mintz. He said the rest would come through small informal fund-raisers.
More than half the money was gathered before this year. Campaign finance reports filed in November showed that Mr. Mintz had $204,567 in hand. Mr. Mintz said he had raised more than $230,000 by the end of 1993.
On Tuesday night he said he cares more how the voters feel than what politicians say. Support for him from Bob Christopher, a community activist on the lower Back River Neck Peninsula, was cited by Mr. Mintz as an example of "the kind of support I think I'm going to have."
Mr. Christopher, who attended the fund-raiser, said in an interview, "Mr. Mintz has done an outstanding job in bringing business and jobs to his district while at the same time protecting our natural resources. I just feel he's the best equipped to do the same all over the county."
Julie Ensor of Parkton, a candidate for judge of the Orphans Court, announced her support of Mr. Mintz to the crowd. That, Mr. Mintz said gleefully, proves that he has support in Mr. Ruppersberger's north county district.
But the vast majority attending the fund-raiser generally reflected his home base, Mr. Mintz admitted.