The day Glendening walked into a nest of practicing Republicans

December 01, 1993|By Robert Timberg | Robert Timberg,Staff Writer CO THE POLITICAL GAME

On a recent fall weekend, about 80 fledgling Maryland Republican pols gathered at the Tidewater Inn in Easton for three days of intensive campaign training. It was the political equivalent of war gaming. The assignment: to put together a winning campaign for a fictional mayoral candidate. Participants schemed and argued into the night as they hammered out plans for fund raising, budgeting, issue selection and the like.

The weekend boot camp was run by the state GOP, which has high hopes for big wins all across the board in 1994. The days are gone when Maryland Democrats could joke that Republicans assemble a firing squad by forming a circle. Or so the GOP would have us believe.

Late Saturday afternoon, with grim-faced players scurrying to and fro through the hotel lobby, who should materialize in their midst but enemy warlord Parris N. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive and a leading Democratic gubernatorial hopeful. A few minutes later, his wife, Frances Anne, joined him. What was going on? Had the Glendening camp mounted a commando raid? Was the joint surrounded?

Nothing so sinister. Mr. Glendening was taking the weekend off. He and his wife were celebrating their 17th wedding anniversary, staying at a nearby bed and breakfast, and getting in some early Christmas shopping in Easton. They had split up earlier in the afternoon to shop for each other, agreeing to meet at the Tidewater.

Mrs. Glendening felt right at home among the Republicans. She is the daughter of the late George R. Hughes Jr., a prominent Western Maryland GOP state delegate and senator.

When she and Mr. Glendening were altar-bound, she had given him a choice. I'll change my name or my party affiliation. Not both. You choose.

Mr. Glendening pondered his options for a time, then made his choice. Which explains why Frances Anne Glendening remains a registered Republican to this day.

Friendly foes

One of the more intriguing match-ups next year may be in the

2nd Congressional District, where a major Democratic aspirant, Del. Gerry L. Brewster, could well meet his Gilman and Princeton classmate, GOP Del. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., in the general election. A race pitting friend vs. friend would be nothing new for the Brewster family.

In 1968, Mr. Brewster's father, U.S. Sen. Daniel B. Brewster, found himself facing a formidable Republican challenge from Charles McC. Mathias Jr. Mr. Brewster and Mr. Mathias, then a Western Maryland congressman, were old friends. More than old friends. Mr. Brewster had been an usher in Mr. Mathias' wedding. They had also been law school classmates (Class of 1949) at the University of Maryland. Mr. Mathias is the godfather of Mr. Brewster's oldest son, Daniel Jr.

In 1967, Mr. Mathias informed Senator Brewster that he planned to run against him the next year. "Someone's going to beat you, Danny," he said. "It might as well be me." He did, in a campaign that turned on the Vietnam War (Mr. Brewster was the hawk, Mr. Mathias the dove) and the wild-card candidacy of independent George P. Mahoney.

In the years that followed, Mr. Brewster and Mr. Mathias remained friends. Senator Mathias invited Senator Brewster to presidential inaugurations. He also put Daniel Jr. and later Gerry to work in his senatorial office. In 1990, retired from the Senate, he served as honorary co-chair of Gerry Brewster's House of Delegates campaign.

A family affair

If Mr. Brewster and Mr. Mathias were almost like family, one or the other of Maryland's U.S. Senate seats was the preserve of two families -- the Tydings and the Bealls -- for nearly half a century.

Democrat Millard E. Tydings of Havre de Grace started the string, winning election to the Senate in 1926 and holding the seat until 1950, when he lost in a race tainted by McCarthyism.

Two years later, in 1952, Republican J. Glenn Beall of Frostburg was elected. In 1964, he was defeated by Joseph D. Tydings, Millard's son. Six years later, in 1970, J. Glenn Beall Jr. avenged his father's loss, ousting Mr. Tydings.

In 1976, one of the current incumbents, Democrat Paul S. Sarbanes, derailed a Beall-Tydings rematch, walloping Mr. Tydings in the primary and shellacking Mr. Beall in the general.

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