Sauerbrey's move today is first major public event of '94 race CAMPAIGN 1994


April 20, 1994|By Robert Timberg | Robert Timberg,Sun Staff Writer

The adjournment of the General Assembly last week has ushered in a new phase of this gubernatorial election year, one in which the still fluid field of candidates in both parties take their campaigns public far more than they have up to now.

While the legislature was in session, and for months (in some cases years) before that, the candidates concentrated on the nuts and bolts of the campaign -- organizing, staffing, fund raising and wooing political activists, opinion leaders and interest groups.

Those largely invisible activities are nearly as important as the public campaign that now begins unfolding since they serve as the support structure for the candidates' efforts to get his or her message out to the voters between now and the party primaries on Sept. 15 and the Nov. 8 general election.

The first major public event occurs today, when Baltimore County Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey presents ex-Howard County police Chief Paul H. Rappaport as her lieutenant governor running mate, then squires him by bus around the state. Mrs. Sauerbrey, thus, becomes the first major candidate to name a running mate. All the hopefuls must do so between now and the July 5 candidates' filing deadline, decisions likely to play heavily into their chances.

Once and future candidate

On Monday, Democrat Parris N. Glendening officially kicks off his campaign, the last of the candidates already in the race to do so, even though the Prince George's County executive has been running hard for at least two years.

Mr. Glendening has also laid out much of his platform in recent weeks, but campaign kickoffs are looked on as benchmark events in which candidates lay out what they hope will be seen as a coherent and compelling vision of where they want to take the state.

The Glendening campaign received a boost yesterday when influential Southern Maryland Congressman Steny H. Hoyer announced his support for his fellow Prince George's countian.

Bainum and Neall

NB Stewart Bainum Jr., the millionaire Montgomery County business

man and former state legislator, is widely expected to join the Democratic field next month, bringing big money and a potentially major new player into the race.

AMr. Bainum is using a so-called exploratory committee to test the political waters. Such committees are usually seen as vehicles to create artificial suspense, generating speculative will-he or won't-he news stories even though the decision to run has long since been made.

But Republican Robert R. Neall, the Anne Arundel County executive, taught everyone to assume nothing. Mr. Neall formed an exploratory committee last summer. Most observers saw it in traditional terms, as a time honored method for generating free publicity.

In October, hours before the Maryland GOP was to begin its fall convention in Cumberland, Mr. Neall called a news conference and said he was not running, leaving many Republicans stunned and muttering to themselves.

Not on the list yet

The latest installment of EMILY'S List is out and the only gubernatorial candidate capable of making it, state Sen. Mary H. Boergers, is not on it. Since 1988, the Washington-based organization has been helping Democratic women candidates who support abortion rights raise campaign money. Of the three women in the race for governor, only Ms. Boergers, of Montgomery County, meets the group's criteria for possible endorsement. The other two are Republicans.

Tricia Primrose, the organization's communications director, says just because Senator Boergers has not yet been tapped doesn't mean she won't be down the line. "Our list is a living document, an ongoing document and it is by no means complete," said Ms. Primrose. She also noted that candidates with early primaries tend to make the list sooner than those who, like Senator Boergers, are looking toward primaries in September.

"It's not something to be alarmed about," said Claire R. Hassett, a Boergers campaign spokeswoman. She said her boss will meet May 10 with officials of EMILY'S List.

So far this election year, EMILY'S List has thrown its support behind eight candidates for governor, including incumbent Ann Richards of Texas. In 1992, the group raised $6.2 million for 55 candidates running for the U.S. House and Senate. Twenty-one were elected to the House and four to the Senate.

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