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Republican businessman Tufaro announces mayoral candidacy; Apartment developer, 52, is 11th person in race, 4th member of GOP


A Roland Park apartment developer became Baltimore's 11th mayoral candidate yesterday, this time on the Republican ticket.

David F. Tufaro, 52, is the executive vice president of Summit Properties, which has developed apartment complexes throughout the city.

The Yale University graduate and former Piper & Marbury attorney will make his first political bid in a city where registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 9-to-1.

Announcing his candidacy outside the Northern District police station yesterday, the married father of three who has been active in Roland Park civic groups said he would no longer stand by and watch the city deteriorate.

"I'm well aware of the challenge of running in this election being a Republican candidate," Tufaro said. "But this is a serious bid for the office of mayor."

A Republican mayor has not occupied City Hall since Theodore McKeldin's exit in 1967.

GOP leaders in the city welcomed Tufaro's candidacy. Victor Clark of the Republican Central Committee called it a "momentous occasion" for the city's 30,000 GOP voters.

In addition to putting up a mayoral candidate with resources and credentials, Republicans have five candidates running for council seats and believe that they can capture at least one of the 19 City Council slots, in either the 1st or 6th District. Community activist Joseph Brown is expected to run as a Republican in the 6th District, while Bob Santoni, a 1st District Republican, is expected to get strong financial backing for his bid.

"This is just thrilling for me and for the Republican Party," said Carol Hirschburg, Tufaro's campaign manager. "What makes this a real candidacy is that he is someone with real credentials and resources."

Tufaro will increase the size of the GOP field to four. Also running as Republicans are neighborhood activists Arthur W. Cuffie Jr. of Bolton Hill, Roberto Marsili of Little Italy and Dorothy C. Jennings. Seven candidates are running in the Democratic primary on Sept. 14.

Tufaro, who will take a leave from his six-figure salary job, wasted little time criticizing Democrats for city woes.

"Need I remind you that Democrats have been in charge of the city and state for the last 30 years?" Tufaro said. "They have had ample opportunity to stem Baltimore's decline, but they failed miserably."

Tufaro also mentioned the successful rejuvenation of New York by Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. He chose the Northern District police site as an example of woeful city planning, he said.

The city intends to build a new station on Cold Spring Lane, despite the opposition of neighborhood residents.

"What has happened to [the station] is a demonstration of the lack of support of neighborhoods in this city," Tufaro said.

Elspeth Wheeler, 70, of Roland Park joined about a dozen Tufaro supporters at the news conference. Wheeler worked with Tufaro at the Roland Park Civic League.

He also has served as a volunteer for such housing agencies as Habitat for Humanity, the Neighborhood Design Center and the Baltimore Housing Partnership.

"He's a dedicated thinker who fights for what's right," Wheeler said.

Pub Date: 7/01/99

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