Weldon to run for delegate

May 06, 2002|BY LAURA ERNDE

Richard B. Weldon Jr. was all set to run for Frederick County Commissioner. He had prepared a campaign speech and planned to deliver it today in front of his friends and family at the Brunswick train station.

But on Tuesday, Weldon abruptly decided to scrap that plan.

He'll still be making a campaign speech today in his hometown of Brunswick, but the focus will no longer be the county office he now holds.

Weldon, 43, will announce he's seeking the Republican nomination for Maryland House of Delegates.

Weldon wants to represent about 28,000 people in District 3B, a newly drawn district covering southern Washington and Frederick counties.

His sudden change of heart was prompted by a Tuesday morning phone call from Democrat Charles E. Smith, the only announced candidate for the seat.


Smith, 53, of Knoxville, said he was dropping out of the race after realizing he didn't have the time to serve as delegate as well as run several businesses.

Smith is throwing his support behind Weldon.

"He and I are good friends and I encouraged him to file after I made my decision," Smith said.

Weldon had his eye on the House of Delegates seat, but had planned to wait until Smith retired. When the opportunity came up, he moved quickly.

First, he had to get the blessing of several members of the Frederick County Republican Central Committee.

Weldon, who had promised he would run for commissioner when the committee tapped him to fill out a former commissioner's unexpired term last year, said he has agreed to help find other Republican commissioner candidates.

Because of the change in plans, Weldon said he will have to revamp his campaign organization and his message.

He had planned to focus on land-use issues in Frederick County, but now he needs to spend time learning about the district's transportation and education needs so he can represent those interests in Annapolis.

"I'll be prepared to go down there to fight for those things next year," he said.

Weldon said he knows "how to get along when getting along is important."

Weldon, of 231 Wintergreen Lane in Brunswick, has lived in Frederick County for 20 years.

While working for the U.S. Navy managing the installation of advanced weapon systems on ships, Weldon decided to take a course in public administration. That sparked an interest in public service that led to appointments as Brunswick's city administrator and Frederick's chief operating officer.

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