Candidates never follow through with their campaign promises, right?
Well, the folks who think William Donald Schaefer should be re-elected as Maryland's governor say that that is not true about their man.
The governor's re-election campaign has released an inch-thick "summary of results" that comes to the conclusion that out of 293 promises made when Mr. Schaefer was a gubernatorial candidate, he has taken action on 284, a whopping 97 percent.
The governor's handlers concede that he was not completely successful. They say he "fulfilled" only 243 promises, or 83 percent. Of that total, 220 were actually "fulfilled" while another 23 were "redirected and fulfilled."
If the numbers themselves are not impressive enough, the campaign report also illustrates them in bar graphs and pie charts.
And how many promises did the governor take little or no action on? Just nine of 293. Three percent. That's what his campaign committee says.
An underdog like William S. Shepard, the GOP candidate for governor, can't get a break -- even from his own party.
Last weekend, when President Bush helicoptered into New Market for a little golf, who got a phone call? Who got a chance to pose for the all-important photo opportunity and the all-important tete-a-tete with the chief executive?
Governor Schaefer, the Democrat, that's who.
"We got a call," said Paul E. Schurick, the governor's press secretary. Protocol, he said, demands that the White House inform a governor whenever the president is coming into a state. The two men talked about the federal budget deficit, and, in keeping with Mr. Schaefer's new foreign-policy thrust, events in the Persian Gulf.
Mr. Shepard, the former career foreign service officer, didn't get a call at all.
Here's a political prediction that can be taken to the bank: Question J on the Montgomery County ballot will pass -- overwhelmingly.
One elderly couple, who are the only voters eligible to cast ballots on the issue, guarantee it.
Sometime before polls close Nov. 6, Montgomery County elections administrator Doug Jernigan will type out two ballots and personally deliver them to Martin and Mildred Dar
nall. Those ballots will be unique because they'll be the only ones containing Question J, which would put the Hitching Post Restaurant back into Prince George's County. Since the Darnalls are the only property owners affected, they are the only eligible voters.
While the ballot question is not the most burning issue of the political season, for Mrs. Darnall it'll mean a chance to putter around the garden.
The Darnalls have owned the combination cafe-liquor store near Burtonsville for more than 41 years, and they've been ready to retire for four years now. But just as negotiations to sell the store began to get serious, Mrs. Darnall and her 75-year-old husband were shocked to learn their establishment was in Montgomery County.
For nearly four decades, they thought they were part of Prince George's County. They paid taxes to Prince George's County, they were registered to vote in Prince George's, and their liquor license was issued by Prince George's County.
But in the early 1980s, there was a slight shifting of the boundary, and the Darnalls weren't informed.
The difference is significant for would-be buyers. Montgomery's zoning and liquor control ordinances are much stricter than neighboring Prince George's. Instead of making an easy sale, the Darnalls became frustrated as one prospective buyer after another lost interest after learning they would be subject to Montgomery County regulations.
The Darnalls enlisted the help of state Delegate Sheila Ellis Hixson, D-Montgomery, who pushed a bill through the General Assembly last spring that put Question J on the ballot.
If the couple is able to unload their business, Mrs. Darnall has her
retirement planned -- "to have a house, a garden and just live a normal life."
Until the primary election, Baltimore County's 10th legislative district was dotted with signs asking voters to cast their ballots for state Sen. Francis X. Kelly and County Councilman C. A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, both Democrats representing the area.
But now that incumbent Kelly has lost to his abortion-rights Democratic challenger, Janice Piccinini, Ruppersberger signs display his name alone. Mr. Kelly is gone. Some of the signs along Greenspring Avenue even seem to have had the half with his name on torn off.
Ms. Piccinini, meanwhile, still stands alone -- signwise.
So you wondered why Governor Schaefer would have taken such a personal interest in the arrangements at Baltimore-Washington International Airport for the first group of hostages arriving there from the Persian Gulf.
Well, you never know.
We hear that a student at a local prep school turned in a paper giving Maryland's governor credit for getting the hostages out in the first place.