2 candidates for governor hit one theme Schaefer cites his record

so does GOP's Shepard

November 05, 1990|By John W. Frece and Sandy Banisky

Gov. William Donald Schaefer said yesterday he hopes voters in tomorrow's election do not forget all the things he has done.

William S. Shepard, the governor's Republican opponent, said the same thing -- that he hopes voters in tomorrow's election remember all the things Mr. Schaefer has done.

It is the only way, both men insist, that they can win.

Mr. Schaefer, after nearly four years as governor, 15 years as Baltimore's mayor, and 16 years as a City Council member, believes he has the experience in government and long record of achievement worthy of re-election.

Mr. Shepard, a former Foreign Service officer from Potomac who has never held public office, believes Marylanders are sick of Mr. Schaefer, that they are tired of his arrogant, intimidating, big-spending ways. The Republican has attempted to make the campaign a referendum on Mr. Schaefer's record.

"He's the bully in the playground," Mr. Shepard said at an appearance in Hagerstown yesterday. "People for a long time were afraid to say they didn't like him, but what you have to do is handle the bully. What people are beginning to realize is that I can handle the bully."

But Mr. Schaefer has mostly ignored his Republican challenger, refusing to debate him and responding to his attacks only by defending his record on spending.

Yesterday, attempting to shake himself out of the funk he has been in since faring worse than expected in the September Democratic primary, Mr. Schaefer embarked on a psychologically uplifting, nostalgic campaign swing to several churches and political rallies in and around Baltimore, where his political base remains strongest.

Surrounded by old friends and longtime supporters, Mr. Schaefer was warmly greeted by Jewish shoppers at a food store in Pikesville. He was embraced by the minister of the black First United Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic in West Baltimore, where he spoke briefly to the congregation.

He was treated like royalty at the annual bazaar of the Greek Cathedral of the Annunciation on Preston Street, where leaders of the city's Greek community took him to a wood-paneled room dedicated in his honor to the memory of his parents.

He ate ravioli with parishioners at St. Leo's Catholic Church in Little Italy, and he watched cheerleaders cheer for his re-election at a crowded, backslapping party for several hundred campaign workers at the Baltimore Rowing Club in Middle Branch Park.

"I feel real great," the governor said, clearly relieved the campaign is finally almost over. He offered no Election Day predictions despite polls that have always shown him with a commanding lead over Mr. Shepard.

"Whether I get 97 percent or 51 percent, I'll be satisfied," said the governor, who rarely seems happy with less than 100 percent. "The only one sure to win," he predicted, "is Louie [eight-term state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein]. No one else."

Mr. Schaefer acknowledged he was troubled by the anti-incumbent sentiment that seems to have flavored this fall's election, but he seemed more worried about its effect on other candidates he backs -- such as Baltimore County Executive Dennis F. Rasmussen -- than on himself.

Mr. Shepard, whose almost leisurely stroll through the penultimate day of his campaign contrasted sharply with the frenetic pace of Mr. Schaefer's daylong, eight-stop tour, clearly is banking on the anti-incumbent vote.

At a candidates' forum in Hagerstown, Mr. Shepard pointed to a man across the room: "That guy over there said, 'I'm a Democrat and I'm voting for you. And I've got eight brothers and sisters. They're all voting for you, too.' "

"I said, 'You're all for me?' He said, 'No, five of us are. The other four are voting for the guy who is running against Schaefer.' "

"And I said, 'That's fine.' "

Mr. Shepard's belief -- and only realistic political hope -- is that there are thousands of closet Schaefer-haters around Maryland who will suddenly mobilize on Election Day to put the first Republican in the State House since Spiro T. Agnew.

"The public mood is clearly going our way. And it is that way all over the state," he said.

Robin Shepard, the GOP candidate's 27-year-old daughter, said of Mr. Schaefer: "The man has doubled his ads on TV. That's got to be some kind of compliment."

Her father, who has managed to raise only $106,719 to Mr. Schaefer's $2.3 million, said that if his campaign had been able to afford a television ad, he had "a great one" planned that would have hit on Mr. Schaefer's reputation for ruling by fear and intimidation. He said it would have assured people: "He can't follow you into the voting booth."

Like the governor, Mr. Shepard also attended a church service yesterday, but he was not asked to speak. Instead, he patiently sat through a 90-minute Mass at the St. Andrew Kim Korean Catholic Church in College Park, listening to a sermon first in English and then in Korean.

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