Democrats falling short filing for local offices in September primary


Democrats have 28 days left to file for local election in Carroll this fall -- something they have virtually ignored until now.

Only George Hayes Littrell Jr., who lost his state Senate bid in 1994 by 1,479 votes, and Hampstead resident Randy M. Reese have filed for an office other than the Democratic Central Committee.

Littrell, a Frederick resident who served in the House of Delegates for three terms before seeking the District 4 Senate seat in 1994, will try again to win that Senate office this fall. Reese, a political newcomer, has filed for election as County Commissioner.

The four other Democrats who have filed are seeking seats on the Democratic Central Committee. They are incumbents Russell Allen and Maxine Carole Wooleyhand, both of Sykesville, incumbent Scott W. Markle of Westminster and challenger George Maloney of New Windsor.

Thirty Republicans have filed for county offices, ranging from the state Senate to the party central committee.

Asked whether Democratic reticence is part of a strategy to keep most candidacies a secret until just before the 9 p.m. filing deadline of July 8, Wooleyhand, vice chairwoman of the committee, said she had "no idea."

"It's not a strategy that we advocate," Wooleyhand said.

Wooleyhand said some Democrats might have been waiting to see the outcome of a special election May 2 to decide whether Carroll would switch from a three-commissioner form of government to an elected county executive and county council. Voters rejected the proposal by a 3-to-1 margin.

Democrats fielded candidates for every office four years ago, but Wooleyhand said she does not know if they will this year.

"We offer aid to any and all candidates," she said, "but we won't know ourselves whether all the offices are filled until the July 8 deadline or unless someone tells us" at a central committee meeting.

The committee meets the first Thursday of the month at the senior center in Westminster. The July 2 meeting will be the last opportunity Democrats have to make their candidacies known to the committee before the July 8 deadline.

If vacancies exist after the deadline, the central committee has until July 21 to appoint people to fill them.

Voters who wish to switch party affiliation before the Sept. 15 primary must do so by June 21.

Carroll is one of the few counties in the state dominated by the GOP. Democrats lost their majority on the voter rolls in 1990, and four years ago won only one head-to-head contest -- a 5th District House of Delegates seat.

Republican incumbents control the other elective offices, from state Senate to county commissioner to Orphans' Court judge.

Democrats will be looking to field candidates for those offices and 20 slots on the central committee, which will grow from eight to 20 members, beginning with the September primary.

The goal, central committee chairman Philip Miller said when announcing the expansion plan in December, is to "involve more people" and give "both gender balance and geographic balance" to the committee.

For example, no one from western Carroll serves on the central committee, but the expansion calls for the election of two men and two women from each of five districts in the county. The boundaries are the same as those that would have been used for county council district elections if voters had approved that idea.

Pub Date: 6/10/98

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