Gubernatorial image-making

June 27, 1994

TC

With a week remaining before the July 5 filing deadline, the seven candidates for governor are scrambling to find running mates and establish an image that will capture voters' attention.

House Minority Leader Ellen Sauerbrey of Baltimore County beat everyone to the punch when she early on selected former Howard County police chief Paul H. Rappaport as her lieutentant governor. She wanted a strong law-and-order message to convey to voters.

Rep. Helen Bentley of Baltimore County wanted to present voters with a ticket that had a balanced regional image as well as a balanced ideological record. She succeeded by naming state Sen. Howard A. Denis of Montgomery County. He's a committed liberal; she's a longtime conservative, but a moderate within the state GOP. They say they've worked out their differences on gun control and abortion. The Bentley-Denis team coveys an image of experience both in Washington and Annapolis as well as a record of concern for the well-being of working people.

William S. Shepard, the third Republican candidate for governor, also sought a running mate who would enhance his ticket. And Carroll County Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge expands Mr. Shepard's Montgomery County base into a Republican stronghold within the Baltimore metropolitan area. He gains a running mate with strong ties to county governments around Maryland and a reputation as a pragmatic official during her two terms.

Things aren't as clear-cut on the Democratic side. The leading contender, Prince George's County Executive Parris Glendening chose Kathleen Kennedy Townsend as his lieutentant governor. While she adds little in the way of political balance and she has no experience in elective office, she does bring youth and enthusiasm as a campaigner, her commitment to social causes and a background in education and legal issues.

Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg is negotiating with former Rep. Tom McMillen. Such an alliance could give Mr. Steinberg a boost he badly needs. The former Anne Arundel congressman is a proven vote-getter not only in Arundel but also on the Eastern Shore and in parts of Howard and Prince George's County. He also might bring some political discipline to the chaotic Steinberg campaign. Their image would be one of competence and proven ability as consensus-seekers.

And what of state Sen. Mary Boergers of Montgomery County and state Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski of Baltimore City? They're still seeking dance partners. More so than in past elections, the 1994 candidates for governor are attempting to craft an image for themselves through the selection of a running mate. That already has elevated discussion of the No. 2 slot to a new level and has cast a more searching public spotlight on the caliber of the choices.

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