- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 3, 2002

Standing at a microphone in front of the bread section of a new Safeway grocery store in Bowie, a Safeway executive scans the crowd, looking for the guest of honor at a supermarket ribbon-cutting.
"Where's Wayne Curry?" he asks, searching for the wayward Prince George's County executive.
"He's hiding," shouts Mr. Curry, emerging from the crowd he slipped into after giving his speech to shake hands, give hugs and have his photo taken by a camera-toting staffer who follows Mr. Curry's every move.
The usually outspoken Mr. Curry is also keeping his future political plans concealed, even though time is running short on his career as county executive. With a year left, he must decide soon whether to run for statewide office or fade back to his former life as a lawyer.
Officially, Mr. Curry says he is weighing his options, seeing whether other possible candidates for governor, attorney general and comptroller decide to run this year. He will decide by March or April, he said.
But it's clear Mr. Curry, who is black and a Democrat, sees a role for himself on a statewide level.
"Already the principal figures on the statewide ticket are talking about black involvement in those positions," he said. "They weren't talking about that until I began assessing the feasibility of my chances."
He wouldn't say who is talking, but Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who could both run for governor, attended a summer fund-raiser at Mr. Curry's Upper Marlboro home.
Analysts say Mr. Curry could be a player in any state election, as blacks could make up to 30 percent of the Democratic primary voters, according to Keith Haller of Potomac Survey Research.
Mr. Curry, 51, grew up in Prince George's and was a development lawyer before winning the race for county executive in 1994, making him the first black to hold the job.
He has spent two terms at the helm of Prince George's, a community that is in transition from a rural white county to a region made up largely of affluent and middle-class blacks.
That has caused some growing pains, such as federally mandated busing to desegregate schools, a policy that ended only in 1998. Accusations of police brutality are also often tinged with racial overtones.
Mr. Curry is credited with wiping out a roughly $131 million deficit and bringing financial discipline to the budget process. He also helped bring tax dollars into the county through the construction of the Washington Redskins football stadium in Landover.
But he has struggled with several issues, including underperforming and crowded schools and the reported abuses by county police officers.

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