- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 4, 2006

Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens yesterday said she will run for state comptroller, becoming the second candidate to challenge William Donald Schaefer in the Democratic primary.

“I had decided a number of years ago that it was the right job for me,” said Mrs. Owens, who is barred by term limits from seeking a third term as county executive.

Mrs. Owens, 62, had been rumored to be considering a run for the 3rd Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a Democrat running for the U.S. Senate.

“I’m not a legislator. Being county executive has spoiled me in that regard,” she said in a telephone interview from Annapolis’ City Dock, where she was watching the Volvo Ocean Race. “It’s time to go for what I like in that regard, win or lose.”

“I bring a strong fiscal track record to be judged on, and I think I bring a measure of consensus building into Annapolis, or at least that would be my intent,” she said.

Mr. Schaefer, one of the state’s best-known and longest-serving politicians, was unavailable for comment.

The 84-year-old political maverick has come under criticism from other Democrats for his close ties to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican seeking re-election. Delegate Peter V.R. Franchot of Montgomery County also has announced that he would challenge Mr. Schaefer in the Democratic primary in September.

Schaefer spokesman Michael Golden said Mrs. Owens’ candidacy “has no effect on his campaign.”

“He always runs like he’s going to lose. He runs hard,” Mr. Golden said of Mr. Schaefer, a two-term governor and four-term Baltimore mayor who is seeking his third term as comptroller.

Calling Mr. Schaefer a “mentor,” Mrs. Owens said she had a “wonderful, cordial meeting” with the comptroller Wednesday and told him she would run for his office. “I am running for comptroller, not against him,” she said.

Mr. Golden confirmed that Mrs. Owens met with Mr. Schaefer and informed him of her candidacy.

“He was very gracious and wished her well, and that was it,” the spokesman said.

Mrs. Owens, a former director of the county’s Department of Aging and its Housing Authority, said she would have run again for county executive if she could have.

Mr. Schaefer has not announced formally that he will seek re-election, but he let slip that is his intention during a Board of Public Works meeting Wednesday. He also boasted about how well his office has performed during his tenure.

“[Mr.] Schaefer will run like he always runs. He will run on his record,” Mr. Golden said.

The comptroller collects taxes and enforces tax-related regulations.

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