Ex-delegate is considering challenging Ruppersberger Bishop deciding if public wants him as candidate; CAMPAIGN 1998


Former two-term Parkville Del. John J. Bishop, a 50-year-old moderate Republican mortgage broker, has emerged as the likely GOP candidate for Baltimore County executive this year.

Bishop issued a written statement this week saying he is considering the race against incumbent Democrat C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger, and several other Republicans say he will probably run.

"I think he's going to do it," said Towson Republican County Councilman Douglas B. Riley. Republican Party central committee Chairman Christopher R. West agreed, calling Bishop "a fabulous candidate" capable of the same kind of last-minute upset as Roger B. Hayden, who defeated heavily favored incumbent Democrat Dennis F. Rasmussen in 1990.

Bishop, who lost a state Senate campaign four years ago against Democrat Thomas L. Bromwell, taking 44 percent of the vote, said he is still evaluating his ability to spark "a good campaign," and to see "if the public is interested."

In his statement, Bishop said he has asked three prominent Republicans -- Riley, Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and County Sheriff Norman M. Pepersack Jr. -- to head a committee to aid in his final decision, which must come before the July 6 filing deadline.

Bishop attacks Ruppersberger in his statement for allegedly "losing touch with the taxpayer/citizen" by failing to cut taxes and for "an air of arrogance" in ignoring community groups in making decisions about land use and regulatory actions.

Ruppersberger is seen as a very strong incumbent, however, even by Republicans.

"I don't think he can be defeated at this point, but things change," said Riley.

But West noted that Hayden, a political novice in 1990, didn't announce his candidacy until June 26 that year and won despite being outspent 10-to-1 by Rasmussen.

Michael H. Davis, Ruppersberger's spokesman, said, "Dutch is looking forward to running for election on his record of accomplishment."

Pub Date: 6/12/98

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