Notes from the trail

December 14, 1997

Notes from the trail

The man who hopes to unseat U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett said he plans to do it the old-fashioned way - with worn soles and dedicated souls.

Tim D. McCown, a Jefferson, Md., Democrat, said he intends to walk the length of the Sixth District along U.S. 40. The trip, which he plans to make in chunks on weekends and nights next summer, will allow him to hit fire department fairs and community gatherings, he said.

"That's the way politicking used to be done," he said.

The flesh campaign will be necessary, since McCown has promised to raise money through small, individual contributions. McCown, the first Democrat to announce a challenge to Bartlett, R-Md., said hard work will take the place of slick 30-second campaign ads.


"I'm not real fond of the money-is-free-speech philosophy. That leaves out 70 percent of the people," he said.

McCown said he will continue working at his business, Guidelines Counseling, and will have to do most of his campaigning at night and on weekends. He said he will begin his walk in April and hopes to be heading into Ellicott City in July or August.

As for refusing to accept money from political action committees, McCown said he hopes to set an example in the campaign finance debate.

"Somebody's got to have the courage to do it themselves," he said.

Big-city fund-raiser

The day after he announced he was running for re-election next year, Maryland Del. D. Bruce Poole, D-Washington, held a $100-a-ticket fund-raiser - in Baltimore.

Poole said he decided to hold it in Baltimore, more than an hour's drive from his district, because he has supporters who live in that area who were interested in contributing.

He said he is planning a local fund-raiser next spring, at a much lower ticket price, after the conclusion of the General Assembly's annual 90-day session.

The evening in Baltimore netted about $20,000 for his campaign, Poole said.

Web now shows who's giving what

One of the easiest ways to know more about a political candidate is to see who is contributing to his or her campaign.

But when it comes to races for state office in Maryland, that isn't an easy thing to do. Most of the campaign finance records are kept in Annapolis, requiring local people to spend time driving across the state and sifting through records.

To make things a bit easier, the nonprofit government watchdog Center for Responsive Politics has set up a World Wide Web location: that is tracking the finances of candidates running for governor of Maryland.

Anyone with Internet access can see who is donating money, who is getting the money and how the dollars are being spent.

A new campaign finance law in Maryland requires candidates to make electronic filings on computer disks, but that information is not being posted on the Internet by the state.

Words exchanged over taxing issue

Speaking of the gubernatorial election, a war of words is building between Gov. Parris N. Glendening and primary challenger Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann over whether the state's property tax should be eliminated.

Rehrmann believes a large, fluctuating state budget surplus should take care of the revenue lost from dumping the tax, which is 21 cents for every $100 worth of a home's assessed value.

But Glendening said last week he preferred steering most of the surplus toward schools, children's health insurance and a cushion against future economic downturns.

In response, Rehrmann fired off a letter to the governor saying the state could provide both a tax cut and additional spending for needed programs.

"You do not need to spend all of the surplus. Some of it needs to be returned to those who pay the bills, the taxpayer," Rehrmann wrote.

Campaigns already on the move

Anyone who still thinks the gubernatorial campaign hasn't started yet didn't see the tractor-trailer driving though Hagerstown last week that was painted with the advertisement, "Eileen Rehrmann, Democrat for Governor." It also included a picture of the candidate.

- Guy Fletcher and Brendan Kirby

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