Kasemeyer says he may enter gubernatorial race

February 17, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Sun Staff Writer

Former Democratic state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer of Ellicott City yesterday confirmed that he may enter the governor's race.

"Some people in Howard and the surrounding counties have told me they are not content with the announced candidates and have asked me to look at that race," Mr. Kasemeyer said.

He said he will make a decision in early March.

Friends acknowledge that Mr. Kasemeyer would be a long shot, but do not dismiss his chances. The larger the field, the greater his chance of winning, the theory goes. If he decides to run, he will become the sixth Democrat to enter the race.

"The more the merrier," says former state Sen. Catherine I. Riley. Mr. Kasemeyer was in line to succeed Ms. Riley as head of the powerful Senate finance committee until he lost a close race to Republican Christopher J. McCabe in 1990.

"His loss was a loss to the whole senate," Ms. Riley says. "I think very highly of him. He is what the public might want in a governor -- a straight shooter, a good fellow."

Former Howard County Councilwoman Angela Beltram is one of the people urging Mr. Kasemeyer to make a gubernatorial run.

Her reasoning, and that of others, is that the campaign of Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg is "dead in the water" and that Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening lacks the charisma to do well statewide despite his huge war chest.

"Is anybody enthusiastic about Parris?" Ms. Beltram asks rhetorically.

And state Sens. American Joe Miedusiewski of Baltimore and Mary H. Boergers of Montgomery County have limited appeal, some political insiders say.

The fifth Democrat, former state Del. Frank M. Conaway of West Baltimore, entered the race on Feb. 7.

"I was thinking, 'Who in the heck am I going to vote for?' " Ms. Beltram said.

Kasemeyer supporters believe she is not alone in those sentiments. They see Mr. Kasemeyer emerging in 1994 much the same way former governor Harry Hughes did in 1976.

What she likes about Mr. Kasemeyer, Ms. Beltram says, is that he makes "good presentations, is a moderate and has no ax to grind."

Howard County attorney Daniel H. Scherr agrees. "I think he would make an excellent governor," Mr. Scherr said. "He really has the pulse of the people around the state."

"He is not aloof. I don't see him as didactic. He wanted to create the type of environment for the rest of the county he wanted for himself. He would do that for the state. You have to have fire in the belly to make a [long shot] run for governor, and he has it. You have to really believe in yourself to do it, and he does."

A native of Baltimore, Mr. Kasemeyer, 48, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1982 and to the state Senate four years later.

Since 1990, he has been working for Montgomery County as a government relations specialist in Annapolis.

In the Senate, he served on the Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Federal Relations. He was a member of the Governor's Special Advisory Commission on Professional Sports and the Economy, and of the Task Force on Real Property Closing Costs.

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