'I'm still out there having fun,' says confident candidate Du Burns 55 supporters attend $500-a-plate fund-raiser for the former mayor.

June 26, 1991|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Evening Sun Staff

"I'm confident we can win and I'm still out there having fun," Clarence H. Du Burns said of his campaign to unseat Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke in the Sept. 12 Democratic primary.

About 55 Burns supporters showed up yesterday at the Preston Room in midtown for a $500-a plate fund-raiser for the former mayor. Burns told them:

"I listen to the people out there, not to the polls, and the people tell me they're for Du."

Allen Quille Sr., Burns' campaign manager, said the breakfast fund-raiser should bring in about $50,000 which will enable the campaign to pay for the television political advertising it couldn't afford in 1987, when Schmoke unseated Burns, who was seeking his first full term as mayor.

"This did it. This morning should give us the money we need for TV ads," said Quille, adding that the television advertising campaign should begin in mid-August.

In 1987, Schmoke raised nearly $1 million and outspent Burns by more than 2 to 1. Despite, Schmoke's financial advantage, the election was close -- Burns lost by less than 5,500 votes.

After the election, Burns bitterly blamed his loss on newspaper polls showing him losing to Schmoke by a landslide. Burns said potential contributors were scared off by the bad publicity and, as a result, he was unable to raise about $55,000 for a television advertising blitz during the waning weeks of the campaign.

Quille said he had been expecting around 70 people for the breakfast and that some people and corporations had bought tickets but didn't show up.

Campaign officials released the results of some unscientific polling conducted over the past 2 1/2 months.

Reginald G. Hill, deputy campaign coordinator, said campaign workers have been making 1800 telephone calls a week.

"We average the figures each week and the latest numbers show that Du is leading with 37 percent support while Schmoke has 13 percent and 50 percent are undecided," Hill said.

Larry S. Gibson, Schmoke's campaign chairman, laughed when asked for a response.

"Are these campaign workers calling other campaign workers," he laughed. "The fact that they would release internal polling indicates there is a question of credibility involved here."

Gibson said the Schmoke campaign is using professional pollsters, but the results won't be released to the public.

Quille declined to say how much the campaign has raised in total, saying only that he is pleased with the financial support.

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