Candidates seek voters in church CAMPAIGN 1994--THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR

November 07, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers William F. Zorzi Jr., Frank Langfitt, Robert Timberg and John W. Frece contributed to this article.

And on the seventh day, they went to church.

Locked in a governor's race too close to call, Democrat Parris N. Glendening pleaded for a large voter turnout at four predominantly black churches in Baltimore while Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey preached her gospel of leaner government at small black church in rural Montgomery County.

The faithful on both sides also had a frenzied day of literature drops, car caravans and planning for what Republicans hope will bea landmark election reversing nearly three decades of Democratic control of the governor's office.

Mr. Glendening began a long day of campaigning with several hundred worshipers at the 8:30 a.m. service at New Shiloh Baptist Church in West Baltimore. Although he was not allowed to speak, he did receive a warm hug and a "God bless you" from the Rev. Harold A. Carter.

In a sight to be seen only around election time, Mr. Glendening found himself holding hands with a Washington Post reporter and state Sen. Larry Young during an extended prayer.

Later, at St. Bernardine's Catholic Church, Mr. Glendening urged parishioners to overcome a so-called "ballot security" effort being mounted by some Republicans, which he said was really an attempt to hold down the black vote.

"I ask you not only to vote, but to bring your parents, and your children and your neighbors," Mr. Glendening told the congregation.

Mr. Glendening's campaign later issued a statement calling Mrs. Sauerbrey's effort Saturday to distance herself from the ballot security effort "too little too late."

Never mentioning his opponent by name, Mr. Glendening urged the churchgoers to vote against "divisiveness" and an attitude of "I've got mine, I don't care about anybody else."

Mr. Glendening, the three-term Prince George's County executive, made stops at two other predominantly black churches, as well as at an Essex ethnic festival and a spaghetti dinner in Little Italy.

"I think he's the right way to go," said Richard Jones, 47, a member of Brown's Memorial Baptist Church in Pimlico, one of Mr. Glendening's stops. "She's a lot of talk. She tells people what they want to hear."

Mrs. Sauerbrey, addressing a congregation of about 80 at Goshen United Methodist Church in Laytonsville in rural Montgomery County, spoke of the need to cut taxes and stop violence in the schools.

Citing a decline in public education, Mrs. Sauerbrey said, "We have 6,000 families in Maryland who are home-schooling their children because they're not happy with the public schools."

"That's right," came a voice from the congregation.

It belonged to Brenda Addison, a Rockville Democrat. Ms. Addison said that she worries about the safety of her 12-year-old son Brandon, who is in seventh grade, and her daughter, Megan, 4, who will enter school soon. As the operator of a day-care business, she said she also feels overburdened with taxes.

Undecided until yesterday, she said she will now support Mrs. Sauerbrey. "If anybody can do anything in the state to cut taxes . . . it would be just a tremendous help," Ms. Addison said. "I'm a Democrat, but it doesn't make any difference. We're looking for a change."

Mrs. Sauerbrey later visited a women's fair in Prince George's County and a Republican candidates reception in Bethesda.

A poll released Saturday showed Mr. Glendening clinging to a narrow 47 percent to 45 percent lead. The poll's margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points makes the race a virtual dead heat.

Mrs. Sauerbrey, a 16-year member of the House of Delegates from Baltimore County, predicted that she will win with 53 percent of the vote.

In a television interview at mid-day, she asserted, "Obviously, the momentum is with us."

John T. Willis, a political adviser to Mr. Glendening, said he believes that neither candidate will win over many of the other's voters.

"I don't think this campaign is about conversion [of voters]," Mr. Willis said during a stop in Pikesville. "It's about mobilization."

To that end, Democratic party loyalists gathered for last-minute election day instructions at a Charles Village church.

Among the group were several associates of outgoing Gov. William Donald Schaefer, including Personnel Secretary Joseph Adler and Environment Secretary David A. C. Carroll.

Meanwhile, local followers of the Rev. Pat Robertson and his Christian Coalition were out in force distributing hundreds of thousands of nominally nonpartisan voter guides at churches throughout the state, an effort begun the previous Sunday.

Although the coalition does not endorse candidates, the guide shows Mrs. Sauerbrey in line with the organization's positions on such issues as abortion and gun control.

Joseph E. Simon, chairman of the coalition chapter in Montgomery County, where the battle for the State House could well be decided, said 85,000 to 95,000 of the guides relating to the statewide elections have been passed out in the county, with more in reserve.

Sauerbrey supporters also assembled a 50-car caravan that trekked from Carroll County to College Park.

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