Carroll and Frederick county voters in the Fourth Legislative District haven't had a hotly contested race for the state Senate in decades. Charles H. Smelser, the retiring seven-term incumbent Democrat, ran wholly unopposed in the last election four years ago. This year, George H. Littrell Jr., a veteran 'N Democratic delegate, and Timothy R. Ferguson, a Republican, are waging a heated battle for the seat.
The contrast between the two is stark. Mr. Littrell is a legislative insider. First elected in 1982, Mr. Littrell rose through the ranks of the House of Delegates to become a deputy majority whip. He also became a member of the Economic Matters Committee where he had a hand shaping many of the licensing, real estate, liquor and unemployment measures of recent years.
Mr. Ferguson, a self-employed engineering consultant, is running for state office for the first time as the quintessential political outsider. Cutting back state government is the main plank in his platform. Mr. Ferguson wants to eliminate the state education department, reduce welfare payments, eliminate state environmental regulation and state farmland preservation programs. Other prominent planks in his campaign are curbing abortion, eliminating inheritance taxes and restoring prayer in school.
While an energetic campaigner, Mr. Ferguson is driven by ideology. To make his case against the real and imagined excesses of state government, Mr. Ferguson resorts to name-calling and accusatory labeling instead of convincing analysis.
We endorse Mr. Littrell because he has a good grasp of what a legislator can accomplish and a worthy track record to point to. As a small businessman, he understands which government initiatives can help as well as hurt business, and has earned high ratings from a number of business organizations. He also understands the role of the state in dealing with social problems. During the campaign, Mr. Littrell has made reasonable proposals to reform welfare. Dedicated to solving problems rather than scoring rhetorical points, Mr. Littrell best represents the district's interests.
7+ Tomorrow: District 5-House of Delegates