Glendening-Sauerbrey showdown CAMPAIGN 1994 -- THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR

October 17, 1994|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,Sun Staff Writer

In yesterday's editions of The Sun, the time of tomorrow's gubernatorial debate on Maryland Public Television was incorrect. The debate will air at 8 p.m.

The Sun regrets the error.

Maryland voters this week will have their first -- and maybe only -- chance to see the two candidates for governor square off in televised debates.

Two debates, one on cable channels in the Washington suburbs and the second on Maryland Public Television, will pit Democrat Parris N. Glendening against Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey in what could be a heated exchange of ideas on how the state should be led in the next four years.


The two candidates can be expected to point up the sharp contrasts between them, with Mr. Glendening highlighting his experience as the three-term Prince George's County executive and painting his opponent as a right-wing zealot.

Mrs. Sauerbrey, the Maryland House minority leader from Baltimore County, will tout her plan for cutting personal income taxes by 24 percent over four years -- the centerpiece of her campaign -- and paint the Democrat with the "tax-and-spend liberal" brush.

"Sauerbrey and Glendening are forcing people to choose here between voting their social politics and voting their pocketbooks. It's a great race," said Blair Lee IV, a political columnist and cable television talk show host who will moderate one of the debates, ** tomorrow evening at Montgomery College's Rockville campus.

Only the hourlong Maryland Public Television debate, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, will be broadcast statewide. In that forum, the candidates will be asked questions by audiences in four locations across the state -- at MPT's Owings Mills studio, in Hagerstown, Salisbury and Rockville -- using interactive telecommunications hookups.

Mrs. Sauerbrey has been chafing at the bit to meet Mr. Glendening face to face.

After he walked away from at least three offers for televised forums, she charged that he was ducking her and challenged him to debate on a network-affiliated television station that could be seen by most Marylanders. He has not taken up the challenge.

"Ten-second sound bites and 30-second television spots do not provide adequate information for voters to make an informed decision," said Carol L. Hirschburg, spokeswoman for the Sauerbrey campaign.

"Mr. Glendening's refusal to engage in more of these debates, especially those that are broadcast to large audiences, shows his unwillingness to expose himself to real scrutiny by the voters," Ms. Hirschburg said.

Mr. Glendening contends that scheduling difficulties have prevented further matchups, and that this week's forums will give voters sufficient opportunity to evaluate the candidates.

"It's a nonissue," said Glendening spokesman David Seldin.

The two candidates met for the first time since the primary election last Monday night at a Maryland Chamber of Commerce debate in Ocean City, where Mr. Glendening held his own against Mrs. Sauerbrey before the pro-business audience, despite a stinging, initial barrage by his opponent.

The format for the MPT debate provides for one-minute opening and closing statements by each candidate. Each will have 1 1/2 minutes to answer each question and one minute for rebuttal.

The candidates will not ask each other questions -- as initially was proposed for the Chamber of Commerce forum and killed by the Glendening campaign.

The 70-minute Montgomery College debate, where three print and television reporters will ask the candidates questions, is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow in the 500-seat Performing Arts Center at the school's Rockville campus.

That debate will be videotaped by NewsChannel 8, the Washington area's 24-hour cable news channel with 350,000 Maryland subscribers in Montgomery, Prince George's and Charles counties. It will be telecast Wednesday at 7 p.m. The program also will be telecast on a Montgomery County cable station, as well as on the college's station.

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