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Ficker seeks GOP nomination for 6th District seat

January 02, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com
  • Robin Ficker
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

Robin Ficker has homed in on one issue for his latest campaign signs: “No Gas Tax Hike.”

With this mantra, Ficker is trying to win the Republican nomination for Maryland’s 6th District seat in Congress while aiming at a leading Democratic hopeful, state Sen. Robert J. Garagiola.

The Maryland General Assembly recently reshaped the 6th District, adding a bigger slice of Democrat-laden Montgomery County and giving Garagiola a better chance to win.

Ficker has attacked Garagiola’s support for raising Maryland’s gas tax to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund and his votes to raise other taxes — including the state sales tax hike during the legislature’s 2007 special session, an increase Ficker opposed.

Ficker, 68, is trumpeting that he took on Garagiola, in a way, and won, in 2008. Through a successful referendum, Ficker forced the Montgomery County Council to vote unanimously to raise property tax revenues more than the rate of inflation.

Nearly 25 times in 37 years, Ficker said, he has gathered enough signatures to get charter amendments on the ballot.

Some didn’t make it to a vote despite the signatures. Through the referendum process, others were rejected; four were approved, Ficker said.

Ficker, an attorney and real estate agent from Boyds in Montgomery County, is one of five Republicans who have filed to run in the 6th District. The others are 10-term incumbent Roscoe G. Bartlett, Joseph T. Krysztoforski, Brandon Orman Rippeon and Robert Coblentz.

State Sen. David R. Brinkley, R-Carroll/Frederick, and former state Sen. Alex X. Mooney, both Republicans, have formed exploratory committees. Bartlett’s former chief of staff, Bud Otis, also has expressed interest if Bartlett doesn’t run.

Dr. Milad L. Pooran and Garagiola are the only Democrats who have filed, but Duchy Trachtenberg has an exploratory committee and John Delaney has been informally campaigning.

During a recent interview, Ficker didn’t criticize Bartlett, but said, “I think the district realizes that it needs a fresh approach.”

Ficker has served one term as a state delegate and was immersed in government as his father worked for 40 years in the Library of Congress’ Congressional Research Service.

He said he knows real estate, agriculture (he has horses, and grows sunflowers, tomatoes and hay on his farm) and the 6th District, having handled thousands of cases in Western Maryland’s courts. He lost to Democrat Beverly Byron for the 6th District seat in 1984, but won’t say how many times he has run for public office, arguing that it’s irrelevant.

Sports fans might remember Ficker as the leather-lunged heckler at Washington Bullets games for years, but Ficker said he hasn’t been to an NBA game since 1998 and now follows the University of Maryland wrestling team.

Ficker said his activism and petition drives — two new initiatives in the works — show his passion and vigor.

“I’m not cursing the darkness,” he said. “I’m trying to light a candle.”

Editor’s note: This is one in a series of occasional profiles about candidates running for election in the 6th Congressional District.

Candidate at a glance

Name: Robin Ficker

Date of birth: April 5, 1943

Hometown: Boyds, Md.

Education: Attended U.S. Military Academy from 1960 to 1963; received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western Reserve University) in 1965; attended University of Pennsylvania Law School for two years; received a law degree from University of Baltimore Law School in 1969; received a master’s degree in public administration from American University in 1970

Occupation: Attorney and real estate agent

Party affiliation: Republican since 1976 (previously was a Democrat, then independent)

Political experience: Served one term as a Maryland state delegate (1979-82); has run unsuccessfully for public office many times, including U.S. Senate, Congress, state Senate, Montgomery County executive and Montgomery County Council

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