A Ticket Of Schmoke And Lapides?

January 29, 1995|By JOANNA DAEMMRICH

Did Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, Council Vice President Vera P. Hall and former state Sen. Julian L. Lapides just happen to meet over the punch bowl?

Or is this the start of a beautiful political friendship?

The three of them looked quite chummy Tuesday night at a fund-raiser for Mr. Lapides, now a candidate for city comptroller. The three were seen laughing and chatting at length at the

Engineers' Club.

Political observers immediately renewed their speculation that the mayor might head a slate in the upcoming city elections. The mayor's chief political strategist, Larry S. Gibson, announced at a breakfast last spring that the mayor might form a ticket for the first time in his political career. But Mr. Gibson was evasive when asked whether the fund-raiser offered a preview.

"I'm not sure that the voters are ready for another political season quite yet," said Mr. Gibson, the architect of Mr. Schmoke's last two campaigns, who also worked for Gov. Parris N. Glendening. "It's a little early, so I'm going to punt at this time."

Mr. Schmoke has not publicly discussed forming a ticket for several months. His last statement was that he had not made up his mind.

Mrs. Hall, a two-term councilwoman from the 5th District, is a Schmoke loyalist and his likely choice for the council presidency. The bigger question is whether the mayor would want to join up with Mr. Lapides, a witty but acerbic man who represented the Bolton Hill area in the General Assembly for nearly a third of a century. Mr. Lapides, who prided himself on being the "ethical conscience" of the Senate, often has irritated those in power.

Mr. Lapides does not have ties to the mayor. But he's more likely develop a partnership with Mr. Schmoke than with a rival from bygone days: Council President Mary Pat Clarke, who is challenging the mayor's bid for a third term. Mr. Lapides is said to distrust Mrs. Clarke because her political club fielded several candidates against him.

For his part, Mr. Lapides, whose only opponent so far is Joan M. Pratt, a comptroller for the Legal Aid Bureau, said: "At this point, I'm friendly with the world. I don't know what will transpire."

JoAnna Daemmrich is a City Hall reporter for The Baltimore Sun.

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