Cade aims to seek re-election

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

Ending months of speculation, John A. Cade, the gruff, widely respected minority leader of the Maryland Senate, has decided to seek re-election to the Anne Arundel County seat he has held for nearly two decades.

Mr. Cade, 64, made his decision after learning last week that Rep. Helen Delich Bentley, the apparent front-runner in the race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination, had chosen someone else as her lieutenant governor running mate.

Mrs. Bentley, a Baltimore County congresswoman, is expected to reveal her selection this week. Sources say she has chosen a Montgomery County political figure, which would balance her ticket geographically and help her tap into that subdivision's large GOP primary vote.

Speculation over the weekend focused on state Sen. Howard A. Denis, a moderate Republican who has represented Montgomery County in the General Assembly since 1977.

"I'm going to run back for the Senate," Mr. Cade said. As for lieutenant governor, he said, "It's something that was in the options mix, and I looked at it and I was willing to do it, but it didn't work out."

Since fall, Mr. Cade has described his political options as running for re-election, for lieutenant governor or state comptroller.

There was a fourth possibility. "I seriously considered retiring, but I'm not the retiring type; I'll probably go out with my boots on," he said.

In Maryland, candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run as a team, which means the person at the top of the ticket selects his or her running mate. There are no such restrictions on candidates for comptroller.

Mr. Cade intends to announce his election-year plans officially today. The Severna Park lawmaker said his decision to run again for the seat he has held since 1975 was grounded in a number of factors.

With the GOP accorded its best chance of capturing the State House since the election of Spiro T. Agnew in 1966, Mr. Cade said he foresees an opportunity of serving as floor leader and legislative spokesman for a Republican administration.

No matter who wins, he said, he believes he will be able to provide leadership and continuity to the Senate, which, because of retirements and members seeking other political offices, faces a turnover of as many as 40 percent of its 47 members.

Mr. Cade has established himself as an expert on budgetary matters, so much so that aides to various governors over the years have been known to cringe at the thought of having to

defend programs in the Budget and Taxation Committee, on which he serves.

Mr. Cade gave some thought to running for governor this year but deferred to Anne Arundel County Executive Robert R. Neall, his friend and longtime legislative colleague, who appeared primed to enter the race, then announced in October that he was retiring from politics at the end of his term.

For months before Mr. Neall's surprise announcement, Mr. Cade was testing the waters for a possible campaign against Louis L. Goldstein, the state comptroller. With Mrs. Bentley's entrance into the gubernatorial campaign in November, however, lieutenant governor became an option.

It was always a long shot. Mr. Cade offered the Baltimore congresswoman expertise in state government, in which she has never worked, but his selection would have deprived her ticket of a solid link to the suburban Washington counties, Montgomery and Prince George's.

For a time, Cade champions tried to make a case that Anne Arundel was a hybrid county, one that was in employment patterns and other ways as much a part of the Washington metropolitan area as the Baltimore region. In the end, the argument didn't take with Mrs. Bentley and her political advisers.

If Mrs. Bentley is elected governor, Mr. Cade likely would be considered for state budget secretary or another Cabinet post.

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