With the Maryland Democratic Party's executive committee preparing to dump -- or keep -- Nathan Landow as state chairman, Gov. William Donald Schaefer said yesterday that he hoped a showdown would not be necessary for Mr. Landow to get the message that he should resign.
Speaking publicly on the subject for the first time, Governor Schaefer, the state's top Democrat, said, "I know there is great dissatisfaction with him. It is time to possibly make a change."
Asked if he agreed with anti-Landow sentiments, Mr. Schaefer said, "I haven't disagreed."
The party's executive committee is scheduled to meet in Annapolis tonight. A group of committee members, led by the five Democratic National Committee members, is expected to seek a vote on Mr. Landow's future at that time.
Dissatisfaction with the party chairman focuses on his tendency toward a "one-man" style of operation, Pamela J. Kelly, the governor's chief political aide, explained. Party leaders have also been upset by the chairman's continuing public fued with Ronald N. Brown, the national Democratic Party chairman.
Mr. Landow said last week that he hoped to work matters out with the governor, but he also said he would resist an ouster move.
He has been informed that Mr. Schaefer wants his resignation, according to Ms. Kelly.
But Mr. Landow said later he had not heard the request personally or clearly from the governor.
"It's too bad it's gotten to this point," Mr. Schaefer said. The governor said he has not made personal calls to members of the Democratic executive committee asking for their support, but he said his staff has been calling the members. Ms. Kelly said yesterday that she felt confident the governor has sufficient support to force Mr. Landow to step down.