- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 4, 2002

In Prince George's County, where Democrats outnumber Republicans by nearly 5-1, two candidates are seeking the Republican nomination for county executive: J. Mitchell "Mike" Brown of Upper Marlboro and County Council member Audrey Scott. Little information is available on Mr. Brown. By contrast, Mrs. Scott, a former mayor of Bowie and special assistant with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, has more than 30 years of experience working in and with county, state and federal governments. The Washington Times endorses Mrs. Scott in the Republican primary.

The Democratic field consists of an uninspiring group of candidates. State Delegate Rushern Baker is best known for carrying a football to many of his campaign appearances, playing a lead role in crafting legislation that stripped county residents of their ability to elect a school board and helping the Democratic political machine in Annapolis ram $1 billion in public-education spending through the General Assembly back in April. Major Riddick, formerly a top aide to Gov. Parris Glendening yes, the same Parris Glendening who left the county's finances in shambles when he left office eight years ago promises to "educate" the public on the need to repeal statutory caps on the growth of county property taxes. (Unfortunately for Mr. Riddick, a new poll taken by The Washington Post found that three out of four whites, and nearly as high a percentage of blacks, want to retain the caps.) The Rev. Anthony Muse, a former member of the House of Delegates, is already talking about a primary challenge to Rep. Al Wynn two years down the line.

The leading Democratic candidates are State's Attorney Jack Johnson and County Councilman M.H. Estepp, a former fire chief and public-safety director. Mr. Johnson is best known for his antagonistic relationship with local police and his repeated efforts to prosecute police officers on misconduct charges. Unfortunately for Mr. Johnson, the fact that judges and juries have consistently ruled against him and for the police raises serious questions about the substance of charges and his skill as a lawyer. Of the Democrats, Mr. Estepp appears to be the least interested in using the position of county executive as a springboard to higher office and the most interested in trying to work with all people of goodwill to improve the quality of life in Prince George's. The Washington Times endorses Mr. Estepp in the Democratic primary.

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