June 1, 2010

Analysis: Asti weighs run for AG or judge

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Alison Asti, the former head of the Maryland Stadium Authority, says she’s ready to take another crack at public office.

In an interview Tuesday, Asti said she’s considering a run for either Attorney General or an Anne Arundel County judgeship. She hasn’t decided which one yet, and is reserving the possibility of staying out of both races. Still, she said she’d be good for either job.

The 55-year-old Pasadena resident left the stadium authority unceremoniously, after the registered Republican was reportedly asked to leave during the early months of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration. The authority owns Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, and handles several other properties for the state. Asti was on the authority’s board of directors beginning in 1990, but became executive director in 2004 during the administration of Gov. Bob Ehrlich.

She said she views the ouster as political and will use it to her advantage if she runs for either office.

“I am nonpartisan and impartial and I don’t cave into political pressure,” she said.

In Maryland’s circuit court elections, candidates don’t run with a party affiliation, but Asti said she would run as a Republican if she seeks to unseat Attorney General Doug Gansler, a Democrat. She acknowledged that would be a difficult task. Gansler is an incumbent and had about $2 million in the bank at last count. Asti hasn’t raised any money.

“That would be a difficult race, but it’s just something I’m considering doing, and my background would be well-suited for that,” she said.

Since leaving the stadium authority, Asti has led the consulting firm Asti Strategic Advisors. Through the firm, she’s worked with the Baltimore firm Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger and Hollander, and now the McCammon Group. She was president of the Maryland State Bar Association from 2007 to 2008.

Gansler pushed for the elimination of contested judicial elections during this year’s legislative session, but the bill failed in committee. Asti pointed out that such elections may be the only reliable way for conservative jurists to make it to the bench under the O’Malley administration, which she says has disproportionately favored Democrats for judgeship. She would take on Ronald Jarashow and Laura Kiessling, both of whom have already filed for re-election.

“It’s really difficult in the current administration to be appointed as a judge if you’re a lawyer who is a Republican,” she said.

-Andy Rosen