Discontented Democrats form Sauerbrey PAC CAMPAIGN 1994

September 29, 1994|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Sun Staff Writer

Hoping to improve Ellen R. Sauerbrey's chances of winning the governor's race, some disaffected Democrats have formed a political action committee to support the conservative Republican nominee.

Democrats for Sauerbrey is a Baltimore County effort led by County Councilman Donald C. Mason and Arbutus businessman Frank Moran Sr. The group plans to send out letters this week asking conservative Democratic candidates and officeholders statewide to join the movement.

Among those the group is seeking is American Joe Miedusiewski, the state senator from Baltimore who finished second to Parris N. Glendening in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Mr. Miedusiewski yesterday backed away from a statement he made during the summer that he would support his party's nominee in the general election.

"After many of the forums in the primary campaign, people would come up and tell me how much I sound like Ellen Sauerbrey," the senator noted.

He added that he has talked with both Mr. Glendening and Mrs. Sauerbrey in the past week.

"I haven't made up my mind yet on who to support," he said. "I plan to talk again with both candidates and then determine which better fits my philosophy and that of my supporters."

Meanwhile, organizers of the Baltimore County effort are hoping that enough Democrats join their effort to narrow Mr. Glendening's lead over Mrs. Sauerbrey of 47 percent to 40 percent in the Mason-Dixon poll.

"It's imperative that we have someone with her philosophy of reducing taxes and the size of government in the State House," said Mr. Mason, who represents the Dundalk area.

Democrats for Sauerbrey, registered as a political action group in Annapolis, was created without the knowledge of the Sauerbrey campaign and is completely independent, said Carol L. Hirschburg, the Sauerbrey campaign press secretary.

"We've been deluged with calls from registered Democrats since the primary saying they wanted to support Ellen's message of cutting government spending and waste," Ms. Hirschburg said.

Ralph S. Tyler, deputy state attorney general, said that as long as the money spent by Democrats for Sauerbrey was expended without the knowledge or consent of the Sauerbrey campaign, it would not jeopardize Mrs. Sauerbrey's reliance on almost $1 million in public funding.

Predictably, Republicans welcomed Democrats for Sauerbrey while other Democrats brushed off the group as inconsequential.

"This is an excellent idea," said Joyce L. Terhes, chair of the state GOP. "This move and the polls indicate that Ellen's message appeals to Reagan Democrats."

Baltimore County's conservative blue-collar and suburban Democrats have been receptive to Republican candidates in recent years, and Mrs. Sauerbrey is a four-term member of the House of Delegates from northern Baltimore County.

Mrs. Terhes predicted that the movement among Democrats to support Mrs. Sauerbrey will expand across the state.

David Seldin, campaign press secretary for Mr. Glendening, said he doubts that Democrats for Sauerbrey will be a significant factor.

"Ellen is the candidate of the extreme, out of step with Maryland, out of step on the abortion issue, out of step on the assault gun ban," said he said. "Parris, on the other hand, is clearly the mainstream candidate in this race."

State Sen. Walter M. Baker, a conservative Democrat from Cecil County, said he thinks Mrs. Sauerbrey will get the support of Democrats on the Eastern Shore.

Mr. Mason, a Democrat who supported Republican County Executive Roger B. Hayden in 1990 and has generally allied himself with the council's GOP members, said his group hopes to raise funds for radio ads, bumper stickers and campaign signs promoting the Sauerbrey campaign.

"We need a state leader who listens to the concerns of the small businessman and the hard working Average Joe Citizen," said Mr. Moran, who is the owner of a bingo-supply company.

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