Brewster inches closer to running for Bentley's seat

February 20, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Sun Staff Writer

How many times, and in how many ways, may a candidate say he is running -- and still claim he hasn't?

Towson Del. Gerry Brewster, whose plans to run for Congress have been an open political secret for months, appears to be turning that technique into an art form.

While Mr. Brewster, a Democrat, has refrained from making a public announcement, other candidates for the seat held by U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, R-2nd, have not. Del. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican from northern Baltimore County, announced his candidacy in November.

A month later Mr. Brewster announced his legislative agenda for the 1994 General Assembly, adding that he would not seek re-election to his House seat.

Now, Mr. Brewster has inched a bit closer.

In a Feb. 10 letter to thousands of potential contributors, he wrote: "I am happy to report to you that I intend to seek election to the United States House of Representatives from Maryland's Second Congressional District. . . . I wanted you to know before I made a public announcement."

Last week, Mr. Brewster said he doesn't plan a public announcement until spring because he doesn't want his candidacy to interfere with his legislative work. He said he is working 18 hours a day, "every day," on legislative issues.

"Other candidates are going around speaking" about congressional issues, he said. "I am not campaigning. I'm not doing any of that."

Mr. Ehrlich said he is campaigning before neighborhood groups on weekends, particularly in the Harford County and Anne Arundel County portions of the far-flung district.

Despite his noncandidacy, federal campaign fund-raising reports filed Jan. 31 in Washington show that Mr. Brewster leads all candidates for the Second District seat. He has raised $60,743 and has $57,209 left.

By the Dec. 31 federal filing deadline, Mr. Ehrlich had raised only $10,441, but he said he raised about $50,000 at a Feb. 5 fund-raiser.

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