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In 2A, three GOP candidates sought the seat before

September 10, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • William J. Wivell
,

While a heralded race for state Senate has held the spotlight, three Republicans have quietly competed for a delegate seat in Washington County.

The incumbent, Andrew A. Serafini, who was appointed to the Subdistrict 2A seat in 2008, is trying to win a full four-year term.

His opponents are William J. Wivell, who is finishing his third term as a Washington County commissioner, and Denny Stouffer, an auctioneer and real estate agent who worked for the state Division of Correction for 21 years.

Tuesday's Republican primary winner will advance to the Nov. 2 general election to face Democrat Neil Becker.

All three Republicans have conservative views and have run low-key campaigns -- particularly compared to the contentious primary battle between state Sen. Donald F. Munson and Del. Christopher B. Shank.

Serafini said the dominant focus of the next Maryland General Assembly session will be the financial constraints of the state and the counties.

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With a large budget deficit and without federal stimulus money that bolstered state coffers the last few years, Maryland lawmakers will have great challenges, he said.

"I think the economy is an overarching fear for people," Serafini said.

Stouffer agreed that the next budget will be tough to craft.

"It's going to be one challenging session," he said.

Stouffer said lawmakers can't rely on stimulus money and can't borrow from funds that have been raided in the past.

"They've dried up," he said. "There's no place to go."

Wivell couldn't be reached Thursday or Friday for this story, but said during an election interview in July that the state needs a more conservative fiscal approach. He said then that state spending and debt are rising, yet important initiatives such as Program Open Space, which helps counties develop parks, are being cut.

He also said his experience as a county commissioner gives him insight into problems that state lawmakers without local government experience won't understand.

Wivell, the business manager for Saint James School, worked as a certified public accountant for Allegheny Energy for 19 years.

Serafini points to his work as a financial adviser as an advantage that helps him understand the struggles of residents throughout Washington County and make decisions accordingly.

Stouffer said that as a business owner, he understands the plight of small companies.

"They're feeling it more than anybody," he said.

He added that he's lived in the district most of his life, knows many of its people, donates to local groups and volunteers his time.

Wivell filed to run for the 2A seat in 2002 when he expected the sitting delegate, Robert A. McKee, would be redistricted into 2B.

When the boundary change was thrown out in court and McKee stayed in 2A, Wivell withdrew from the race.

Stouffer, Wivell and Serafini all applied for the 2A seat in 2008 after McKee resigned.

The Washington County Republican Central Committee recommended Serafini out of a pool of 19 applicants, and Gov. Martin O'Malley appointed Serafini to the seat.

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