Richard Iannucci, Republican candidate for House of Delegates in the 27th Legislative District, was incorrectly quoted in a Washington Post story Monday on the primary race in the Oxon Hill, Hillcrest Heights area of Prince George's County. Iannucci, a hospital administrator from Oxon Hill, agrees in principle with a statement that Democrats in his district are thinking about voting Republican this year, but it was a fellow Republican candidate, Gloria Colbert, who made the remark.
In the urban, middle-class neighborhoods that lie in the arc formed by Branch Avenue and Oxon Hill Road in Prince George's County, the hot summer evenings are filled with the march of campaign workers and politicians.
Residents of the area seem more interested in beating the heat than in the outcome of the primary race for House of Delegates seats in Maryland's 27th legislative district.
As incumbent Democratic Del. Frank Komenda said, "The people just don't have a full campaign flavor down here."
As a result, Komenda and his fellow incumbents, members of the Democrats '78 slate, Del. Charles Blumenthal, Del. Fred Rummage and State Sen. Peter Bozick, are running a very low-key campaign for the Democratic primary.
"We are working very hard," Komenda hastens to add, "but there just aren't any hard issues."
The incumbents, who refer to themselves as "the four of us," backed by the powerful Prince George's County Democratic Organization and are spending their time before the primary at coffees in private homes throughout the District, "saying hello to our constituents," Blumenthal said. "It's just a quiet campaign."
High property taxes are talked about here over backyard picnics and civic association suppers just as they are in other parts of the county. But in this district dominated by federal employes, the primary concern for these car-dependent households is development and its ultimate effect on the roads system and other area public facilities.
Last year the incumbents opposed a county - sponsored General Plan amendment that would have designat-much of the district for high-density development and according to Bozick, would have created "one massive concrete apron criss-crossed by roads."
After that plan was abandoned, the incumbents again opposed the development of the proposed new town of Mattawoman, south of their district, which would put several thousand new homes and a major shopping center just off the interchange of Branch Avenue and Rt. 301, which is expected to markedly increase area traffic.
The delegates could not influence the outcome of a Metro Line scheduled for their district. For years the proposed Metro route for the southern end of Prince George's County followed Suitland Parkway to a terminal at Branch Avenue inside the Beltway. Recently, the County Council rerouted the Metro line to cross St. Barnabas Road and end at Rosecroft Raceway and retained the Branch Avenue terminal only as an alternative.
Residents of the Hillcrest Heights area say they now fear that the new route will go right through their neighborhoods.
Ronald C. Hill, himself a Hillcrest Heights resident, opposes the Metro line change and is trying to make it an issue in its campaign as an independent Democrat running for the House of Delegates. He is opposing the incumbents' slate in the Sept. 12 primary.
Komenda, however, dismisses the issue. "That question only came up twice in our meeting with constituents, and it's only been raised in the communities directly affected."
In the course of his campaign against the incumbents, Hill has been meeting voters at the shopping centers and single-family homes and apartments in nearby Hillcrest Heights and Brian Village and, he said, encouraging black voters he meets to register and go to the polls.
"There has been quite an exodus of blacks out of the District of Columbia and into this area in the past four years," Hill said, "and for the most part many of them have not registered. They haven't seen the need to because they haven't seen anyone to represent them. I want to show them someone's interested," Hill said.
Although incumbent state Sen. Botick is unopposed in both the primary and general elections, two other candidates also are running against the slate for the House of Delegates seats in the Democratic primary. Enid Smith said she decided to run for office because she was "so disillusioned with politics in this country."
An assistant sheriff and close political ally of County Sheriff Don E. Ansell, Smith said, "people who have been Democrats all their lives are thinking about voting Republican this year."
Republican primary Gloria Colbert and Richard Iannucci say they would like to see that happen in the November election. The other Democratic candidate, Thomas M. Farah, a 24-year-old Oxon Hill attorney, said he is prevented from campaigning because of his involvement in a new job but he "wanted to run against the slate anyway."
Komenda said that regardless of the antiorganization statements made by the independent Democrats, "we don't hear of the negative aspects about the slate from the people, only from our opposition."
Of that opposition, challenger Hill, who himself applied for endorsement by the Democratic organization and was turned down, is the most vocal. He pointed out that Baltimore Magazine last March called Blumenthal "one of the 10 worst legislators" in Annapolis and said that his name on a piece of legislation was the kiss of death.
Hill also charged that Rummage's job as executive director of the Prince George's County Education Association - the teachers' union - put him in a conflict-of-interest situation.
Rummage said his job with the PGCEA had nothing to do with the group's endorsement of his candidacy. "They gave me that for my record," Rummage said. "If there are any conflicts of interest, there are laws on the books to handle them. I know I don't have any conflict."
Blumenthal called Hill's charges "unfortunate." "I have enacted 59 separate pieces of legislation since I have been to Annapolis," he said. No one except committee chairmen has a similar record of effectiveness.
Blumenthal added that "I'm a fulltime legislator who doesn't have any other occupation . . . and I think I'm a pretty good legislator."