He wore a colorful tie, but Gov. William Donald Schaefer was in a decidedly subdued mood as he offered an apology to Maryland voters who supported him in the general election.
"This is somewhat difficult for me to say," Schaefer said at a press conference yesterday in Annapolis, "but I owe an apology to the people that voted for me."
Schaefer, who won re-election to a second four-year term with about 60 percent of the vote, has spent much of his time since the Nov. 6 general election in a funk because he lost nearly all of the state's rural counties.
"I did not act in the right way," he admitted yesterday. He said he "pouted a little bit" before he realized that he should be grateful for being returned to office.
"I should have been darn happy with what happened to me," Schaefer said. "And so I'm telling those people who voted for me, I thank you. To those who didn't, if you think you sent me a message . . . I understand some of it. Some of it I don't because in the area where you flourished as a result of our efforts, I don't know what message you were sending."
In a lengthy monologue about his post-election behavior, Schaefer gave credit to Frederick Griisser, a political neophyte who was his only Democratic primary opponent, for helping him realize his popularity had dropped around the state.
In what many political pundits said was anti-Schaefer sentiment, Griisser received about 100,000 votes, a very large number considering that he had little money and campaigned infrequently.
Schaefer repeated his claim that he lost most of the votes on the Eastern Shore because his campaign staff failed to convey the message that the governor worked hard during his first term to improve economic conditions there.
Although his mammoth roads-and-bridges construction project on the Shore is called "Reach the Beach," Schaefer denied that the goal behind the effort is to make the drive to Ocean City easier.