Without the fanfare and $125-a-plate fees normally associated with such events, state Del. Elizabeth Bobo of Howard County announced yesterday her re-election bid for a second term.
Bobo, a Democrat and former county executive who represents a House district that includes west Columbia and the Ilchester community, staged the event at the Cedar Lane Park Pavilion with her husband, Lloyd Knowles, son Cliff, daughter Christine, two grandchildren and about 100 friends and supporters.
Those who attended -- including fellow Democrats Del. Frank Turner, county executive candidate James N. Robey, and County Council hopeful Guy Guzzone -- braved the threat of rain to munch on hot dogs and 55-cent bags of potato chips under the rooftop.
"I apologize for the bathrooms being locked," Bobo said as she ended a five-minute speech. "But I won't take this as a sign from the [Republican-dominated] administration."
Bobo, who is not expected to have a primary challenger, will likely face Republican newcomer Todd Arterburn, a 36-year-old golf course developer.
By most accounts, Arterburn, who also does not yet have a primary opponent, is the underdog.
But Arterburn expressed confidence that he can unseat the incumbent by emphasizing his differences with Bobo, most notably his support for cutting income taxes and fostering commercial development.
"I think we have two vastly different approaches to the government and private sector," Arterburn said. "I couldn't be happier that she's running, and I'm looking forward to a healthy debate of the issues."
Supporter Geoff Silberman introduced Bobo yesterday, saying, "I like the way she represents us. I like the way she fights for us, our children and our families."
Bobo said she plans to focus on the issues of schools and public safety -- both of which she linked to residential growth in the
"Howard County has one of the fastest growing school populations in the state, and we have to meet that need," Bobo said. "But we're doing very little to manage growth in the county. The need [for new schools] is going to continue and even increase."
Bobo also said she would continue to fight to protect the environment, another topic of disagreement between her and Arterburn. "We are the stewards of the Chesapeake Bay, which is arguably one of the most valuable estuaries in the country," Bobo said. "We have a spiritual responsibility to protect and preserve the Chesapeake Bay."
Bobo said she welcomed "a good discussion" with her Republican challenger, but noted that her political experience could be the key. "I know the people in my district and they know me," Bobo said. "I do think that's an advantage."
Bobo was a one-term county executive who lost a re-election race in 1990 to Republican Charles I. Ecker.
GOP against the odds
Louis M. Pope, who chairs the county Republican Party, agreed that the odds are in Bobo's favor -- 52.6 percent of the 23,597 registered voters in District 12B are Democrats.
But Pope also pointed out that Bobo's 1994 opponent, an unknown 21-year-old named Charlie Scott, surprised everyone by garnering 40 percent of the vote.
"Last time, she did not win by anywhere near near the plurality that the Republican-Democratic ratio would indicate, thereby showing that she is vulnerable," Pope said. "Obviously, it's an uphill battle, [but] I think it's do-able."
Pub Date: 5/10/98