Brock weighs Md. race Governorship would be target for ex-GOP chairman

January 29, 1993|By Jack W. Germond | Jack W. Germond,Washington Bureau Paul West of the Washington Bureau contributed to this article.

WASHINGTON -- Bill Brock, a former Republican national chairman and onetime senator from Tennessee, is considering a campaign for governor of Maryland next year.

"I've had a number of people come and ask me to consider it," Mr. Brock said. "It's a very new thought and I've said I'd be willing to listen, but it hasn't gone beyond that point. It's very tentative."

Mr. Brock said his decision would depend perhaps on who else is running. And he added that he has "no timetable. I don't know how long it takes you to listen, but it may depend on who else is involved."

Maryland Republican Chairman Joyce L. Terhes said she spoke with Mr. Brock on Inauguration Day and he said "that he was exploring the idea but he is a long way from making a decision."

She said Mr. Brock has become increasingly active in Maryland Republican politics. He chaired a successful GOP fund-raising event in Baltimore in December and held a rally for state Republican officials at his Annapolis home last summer after the national party convention.

"I certainly consider him a tremendous asset," she said.

Mr. Brock, 62, has privately discussed a possible campaign with Republican political consultants, according to a knowledgeable source.

Democratic Gov. William Donald Schaefer is ineligible to run again after his second term ends next year.

Mr. Brock has been a business consultant in Washington since he was replaced as national party chairman with the 1980 election of President Ronald Reagan. In his three years-plus in the chairmanship, Mr. Brock won high marks for rebuilding the Republican apparatus and for his attempts to broaden the party's base by attracting more black voters.

Mr. Brock lived in Montgomery County for some of the time he served as a senator and party chairman and has lived in Annapolis the last seven years. But he undoubtedly would face charges of being a "carpetbagger" should he make the run for governor. A consultant who has discussed the campaign with Mr. Brock described that as "an obstacle that would have to be overcome."

Mr. Brock, the heir to a candy company fortune, could be expected to be well-financed.

Other potential GOP candidates for the gubernatorial nomination are Robert R. Neall, the Anne Arundel county executive, and William S. Shepard, the unsuccessful challenger to Mr. Schaefer in 1990.

A native of Chattanooga, Tenn., Mr. Brock served four terms in the House of Representatives before defeating Democratic Sen. Albert Gore, father of the present vice president, in a harsh campaign in 1970.

In the Senate, Mr. Brock promoted anti-corruption legislation after Watergate and supported plans to make voter registration easier. He was on everyone's list as a possibility for some future Republican national ticket when he was defeated in 1976 by Democrat James R. Sasser.

One potential drawback to a Brock candidacy for governor is the hesitation many Maryland Republicans would have about once again nominating a relative newcomer to state politics. Among the state party's worst debacles were the Senate candidacies of Alan Keyes and Linda Chavez, neither of whom had strong ties to the state.

"But you'd have to look at what he would bring," said Ms. Terhes.

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