Republican voters savor a day full of possibilities

November 09, 1994|By Sandy Banisky | Sandy Banisky,Sun Staff Writer Sun staff writers Ivan Penn, Rafael Alvarez, JoAnna Daemmrich, Mary Gail Hare and Dan Thanh Dang contributed to this article.

This could be the night, David Blumberg was saying as he sat outside a sunny Southwest Baltimore polling place yesterday afternoon. This could be the night.

The loyal leader of Baltimore's tiny troupe of Republicans, he liked what he was hearing from voters. And he was savoring the possibilities.

After years of being stepsisters, the Republicans might actually find glass slippers and dance.

All across the heavily Democratic city, there were Sauerbrey signs.

Voters were talking Republican. Pumpkins could become coaches.

Even if the Republicans were to lose, he said, party loyalists would be awake late to watch the returns.

"I'm just excited at the prospect of staying up until 11 o'clock on election night," Mr. Blumberg said.

In East Baltimore, where Democrats rule, poll workers were wearing "Democrats for Sauerbrey" stickers and urging votes for Republican candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey.

Along Pratt Street, east of Patterson Park, volunteers stood on every corner holding Sauerbrey placards.

In Mayfield, persistent Republican mayoral candidate Samuel Culotta was handing out sample ballots, his blue eyes shining under the brim of his plastic foam "Ellen Sauerbrey for Governor" boater.

"We've reached the point where there's a certain fatigue toward government spending," he said, predicting a GOP victory. "She put her finger on the pulse of America."

But Gov. William Donald Schaefer said he voted for Democrat Parris N. Glendening. "He's closer to realism than" -- he paused -- "somebody else."

The governor began his election day with cronies at Iggy's, a Little Italy coffee shop, where he ate his traditional sausage and eggs and talked his traditional political talk.

He did not sound like a man ending a career.

In fact, he made it clear he wasn't.

"Most likely going to run again for something," he said as he spread margarine on an Italian roll.

For what?

"I don't know. Depends." But he's sure he has lots more to do.

"It's like an old war house, old fire horse," he said.

"Put him in a stall. Put a whole bunch of new engines in the next stall. Try to start 'em. The carburetor's busted. Got to get the old war horse."

50 years at the polls

J. William Dell has been chief Republican judge for 50 years at Calvary Assembly of God Church in Granite in Western Baltimore County.

"When I first started, we had the old time paper ballots," said Mr. Dell, 75, who took over the position from his ailing father. "We were here all day to all night and then until lunch the next day to count the ballots."

His wife, Edna, 77, brings him lunch and dinner -- baked chicken, mashed potato and gravy, asparagus and Jell-O.

"I have been bringing his lunch and dinner for the past 50 years," said Mrs. Dell, who arrived promptly at noon yesterday with her husband's lunch. "The only thing that changes is the vegetable."

Mother of the candidate

Outside Wilde Lake Middle School in Columbia, Sarah Baker was touting her favorite candidate -- her daughter, Susan Gray, Democratic candidate for Howard County executive.

"Are you a father?" she asked a voter as he passed by. "Well, I'm a mother. Here's the best brochure. Would you please read this before you vote?"

Ms. Baker, wearing a gray sweater shirt with blue letters that read "I'm Susan Gray's Mother," would catch virtually every voter who walked her way.

Those who tried to escape her, well, they'd catch it, too.

"Can I just have one minute of your time?" she would say soothingly. "Did you know she was endorsed by the AFL-CIO? Did you know she was endorsed by the policemen's association?"

"I think she's having as much fun as her daughter," said Pat Hall, a Columbia voter who traveled to Wilde Lake Middle.

'Du' holds court

In East Baltimore, former mayor Clarence H. Du Burns held court in the basement of a school at Lakewood Avenue and Oliver Street yesterday afternoon. Old Friends and neighbors came up to shake his hand and give the dapper city leader a hug.

Mr. Burns spent all day touring the polling places on the east side to shake hands with voters and check on the turnout.

"I can tell you this -- We got to beat that woman," he said as he emerged from a voting booth. "A lot of people are singing her praises, but she just wouldn't make a good governor for the city of Baltimore. So the black folk have to go out and beat her."

Write-in vote

In Carroll County, incumbent state's attorney Thomas E. Hickman, who lost a close Republican primary race to challenger Jerry Barnes and immediately mounted a write-in campaign, sat alone yesterday afternoon on the blacktop parking lot at Westminster West Middle School.

He sipped coffee as his supporters handed out campaign literature and instructions for writing-in a vote to those entering the polls.

It's not Jerusalem

If this were Jerusalem, the streets would be hopping.

"Everybody votes," said Jonathan Shenhav. "It's a social obligation."

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