Gouge abandons House campaign to become Shepard's running mate CAMPAIGN 1994 -- THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR

June 25, 1994|By Frank Langfitt | Frank Langfitt,Sun Staff Writer

Republican gubernatorial hopeful William S. Shepard yesterday chose Julia W. Gouge, president of the Maryland Association of Counties and a Carroll County commissioner, as his running mate for lieutenant governor.

Praising Mrs. Gouge's work with MACO, an organization that lobbies for counties in Annapolis, Mr. Shepard said she would work to strengthen relations between the governor's office and local officials.

"I want every county and municipality to get a fair shake," Mr. Shepard said at his campaign headquarters in Rockville. "It has always troubled me that the smaller counties are often either forgotten or treated as an afterthought."

Mr. Shepard, the Republican nominee for governor in 1990, is running a long-shot campaign for the GOP nomination this year against two better-known and better-financed rivals, U.S. Rep. Helen Delich Bentley and Maryland House Minority Leader Ellen R. Sauerbrey.

Mrs. Gouge, by signing on as Mr. Shepard's running mate, abandoned a promising campaign for the District 5 seat in the Maryland House of Delegates. Although the decision was difficult, she said, the opportunity to continue her work on county and state relations as lieutenant governor would be too good to pass up.

"I have the understanding, so why not put it to use," she said.

While familiar to county officials through her work with MACO, Mrs. Gouge remains largely unknown to the general public.

Mr. Shepard's political consultant, Robb Austin, inadvertently underscored that point yesterday while praising Mrs. Gouge's selection before the announcement.

"She's a superb choice," said Mr. Austin. "I believe her name is Grubb."

Mr. Austin later added that he had not been a part of the selection process and knew Mrs. Gouge's reputation, if not her name.

In addition to serving eight years as a Carroll County commissioner, Mrs. Gouge was also the first woman elected mayor in Carroll County, where she held the top post in Hampstead.

Yesterday's selection of an experienced politician contrasted with Mr. Shepard's choice in 1990, when he ran as the Republican standard bearer with his wife, Lois.

The unconventional move drew criticism and nearly cost him the primary. He later took about 40 percent of the vote against Gov. William Donald Schaefer in the general election.

Mrs. Shepard said yesterday that she was happy not to be on the ticket. "I'm really looking forward to being first lady," she said.

On the campaign finance front, Mr. Shepard said yesterday that he still needs to raise $75,000 to $80,000 by July 15 to qualify for state matching campaign funds. The ex-diplomat said a committee is working on plans for a big fund-raiser, although a date has not been set.

Matching funds -- in which the state provides $1 for every $2 raised by the candidate -- would provide crucial support for Mr. Shepard.

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