A year ago, when western Howard Republican Councilman Charles C. Feaga announced that his former campaign manager, Gail H. Bates, would be running for his seat, it seemed as if Bates was the heir apparent.
Bates, 52, had been active within the local Republican Party since 1980, serving on the central committee, teaching a campaign school for Republicans, working for campaigns, raising money and registering voters.
She has been an assistant to Republican County Executive Charles I. Ecker since 1991.
Many Republicans felt this was her time to run -- until a fellow Republican named Kittleman decided to challenge her.
Allan Kittleman, the 39-year-old former county GOP chairman and son of Republican Del. Robert H. Kittleman, has the name recognition and family connections to make this a difficult race for Bates.
Today, Bates formally kicks off her campaign for the District 5 seat, and Feaga is expected to be there to show his support. He has already endorsed her, and in a conservative district where it seems as if almost everyone knows the 12-year councilman, that could be a big help.
Earning a position
"If there's such a thing as earning a position on the County Council, she fits the description 100 percent," Feaga said last week.
Bates, a mother of two who has lived in West Friendship for 21 years with her husband, David, is running on a traditionally conservative platform.
She supports Ecker's cut in the piggyback tax, from 50 percent of the state income tax to 48 percent; she is concerned about teachers too often becoming social workers in the schools; and she talks of keeping down the cost of government.
"I try to keep a balanced perspective. I'm not an extremist in any area," Bates said last week. "Quality of life is probably the key [issue] -- keeping Howard County a safe and healthy place."
The kickoff event, an "Old Fashioned Ice Cream Social," is at 1 p.m. today at Nixon's Farm on Nixon's Farm Lane, off Route 32 in West Friendship. It is a casual, low-cost fund-raiser: $15 per adult, $5 per child, with children younger than 6 admitted free.
Bates said she has raised nearly $20,000 toward her goal of $30,000. If she defeats Kittleman in the September primary, Debra Ann Slack Katz, the only announced Democratic contender, will likely be her opponent in November.
Pub Date: 5/31/98