Campaign crosses Baltimore

August 12, 1994|By From Staff Reports CAMPAIGN 1994

State Sen. American Joe Miedusiewski brought his walking man's campaign for governor home to Baltimore yesterday, pressing the flesh as he hiked from the city's west side to east, across North Avenue.

Mr. Miedusiewski, the dark-horse Democrat who has represented East Baltimore in the legislature for the last 20 years, caught scores of unsuspecting citizens off guard with his willingness to take to the streets in old-fashioned campaign style.

"Hey, this is what it's all about -- you gotta connect with the people," said Mr. Miedusiewski, who walked across Montgomery County last week.

But while the candidate was busy introducing himself to potential voters, he was being unwittingly upstaged by City Council President Mary Pat Clarke, a mayoral aspirant who clearly threw her support behind him yesterday but stopped short of an endorsement.

As the small entourage of Miedusiewski supporters moved across North Avenue, Mrs. Clarke's presence drew the most nTC attention from passers-by -- even though a tractor-trailer emblazoned with the red, white and blue "American Joe for Governor" campaign logo hovered curbside.

Cars stopped in the middle of the street, with passengers asking Mrs. Clarke if she were running for mayor next year. Others just beeped and waved. Men, women and children stopped her, most to say hi, but some with problems that needed attention.

Others, though, such as Arnold James, a 41-year-old home improvement contractor from Windsor Hills, wanted her thoughts the gubernatorial race.

"Miss Clarke, you're my candidate for mayor. Why are you campaigning for Miedusiewski?" he asked after stopping her on the median in the 3100 block of W. North Ave.

Mr. Arnold, who has not made up his mind in the race, told her that he had heard Mr. Miedusiewski's radio ads attacking Democratic front-runner Parris N. Glendening, the Prince George's County executive, and found them "politically expedient."

Mrs. Clarke explained that she was behind Mr. Miedusiewski because he would remember Baltimore City were he to make the long trip to the State House.

"I like American Joe, like that he's an underdog, like his spirit of fighting . . . that he's down to earth and you can talk to him directly," she said. "This walk, the people power, tells me that he won't get too far away from them when he's elected."

Common Cause questions fund limit

Common Cause/Maryland, the citizen lobbying organization, urged state election officials yesterday to repeal regulations that have limited the amount of public money available to three candidates running for governor.

The matter was immediately referred to Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., who promised a ruling today or Monday.

A change in the regulations could yield thousands of dollars for the campaigns of Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey and Democrats Mary H. Boergers and American Joe Miedusiewski, the only candidates using public financing.

The dispute involves whether Maryland election officials exceeded their authority by offering state matching funds to the candidates only for qualifying private contributions raised before July 15. Common Cause argues that the deadline was arbitrarily chosen and never contemplated when the public financing law was enacted in 1974.

Under the law, candidates who meet certain conditions can receive $1 in state funds for each $2 raised in private contributions of $250 or less. The first $250 of larger donations also can be matched.

To count for the match, the contributions must be from individuals, not corporations or political action committees. Candidates who opted for the public money in the primary had to agree to a spending limit of just under $1 million.

Kevin S. Keefe, Ms. Boergers' campaign manager, and Carol L. Hirschburg, campaign finance director for Mrs. Sauerbrey, estimated that their respective campaigns could pick up at least in matching funds if the July 15 deadline were moved closer to the Sept. 13 primary.

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