As candidates' July 2 filing deadline nears, state delegates representing Howard County in the General Assembly have formed two teams to campaign for office this year.
Also, County Council member Angela Beltram said she will seek reelection. She has represented the Ellicott City area since 1986 and, thus far, faces competition only from a former challenger, Republican Darrel Drown, budget officer for the county school system.
In District 14-B, which covers central Howard and northeastern Montgomery counties, Republican Dels. Robert H. Kittleman, House minority whip, and Robert Flanagan, a first-term member, announced in Columbia that they are campaigning jointly.
They noted that in recent legislative sessions, Howard's delegation has been granted "virtually every legislative request" it has made.
"We firmly believe that our constituents want to measure our success not only by how much 'pork' we bring home from Annapolis but also by the broad range of ideas that we advocate," such as reduced state spending and more intensive recycling, they said.
Kittleman and Flanagan are being challenged by Democrats Lloyd Knowles, an engineer and former County Council member, and James B. Kraft, a Columbia lawyer who is on the county Democratic Central Committee.
In District 13-B, which covers eastern Howard and northern Prince George's counties, Democratic Dels. William C. Bevan and Robert J. DiPietro announced in Laurel that they are running as team.
Bevan, chairman of the Howard delegation in the House, is an eight-year veteran of the General Assembly. DiPietro was appointed in December to fill the seat vacated by Susan Buswell. They are the only Democrats who have announced in a district in which three Republicans have indicated they will run.
Bevan, a former junior high school principal, and DiPeitro, a former bank official, cited their joint work to stop expansion of a truck stop on Interstate 95 and their successful efforts to secure funding for Howard budget requests.
Mike McGonnigal, a staff lawyer with the Columbus Community Legal Services, a legal clinic run by Catholic University, is the first Democrat to challenge state Sen. Thomas M. Yeager (D), who announced in January, in the District 13 primary on Sept. 11. Republican Guy L. Harriman Jr., 55, a lawyer from Columbia, is also running in the district, which includes parts of Columbia, eastern Howard and Laurel.
McGonnigal said that, among other things, he is interested in a state health insurance program to help families facing catastrophic health care costs, a system of allowances to parents to help in child rearing, mandatory sentences for every crime and a $100-million-a-year state job program.
He also proposes that Maryland hold non-partisan elections, saying that the current system tends to "freeze out registered Republicans and independents" because most elections are decided in the Democratic primary.
Howard County Sheriff Herbert Stonesifer, who came under fire from members of his department this year for the actions of a pair of Nazi-saluting deputies, now faces three challengers in the Democratic primary.
They include Michael A. Chiuchiolo, who plans to retire soon as a lieutenant in the Howard County police force; Allen Kohler, a Maryland National Guard sergeant and former county deputy, and George Cunningham, a deputy sheriff in Baltimore and former deputy in Howard.