Former Gov. Hughes To Step Down As Chairman Of State Democratic Party

Job Is Too Demanding, He Says After Three Years

April 24, 1997|By Peter Jensen and C. Fraser Smith | Peter Jensen and C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

Former Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes announced yesterday he will step down as state Democratic Party chairman at a party fund-raising event next month.

Hughes, 70, named to the post by Parris N. Glendening three years ago, said the job demanded too much of his time and energy. The Eastern Shore resident said he "stayed longer than [he] expected" and wanted the post to be filled by someone who could devote more attention to it.

"I told Parris last fall I wanted to step down, and he asked me to give him time to do it," said Hughes, a member of the University of Maryland Board of Regents and the Chesapeake Bay Commission. He is also an attorney "of counsel" to the law firm of Patton Boggs.

"I have supported Parris Glendening and continue to do so. I just wanted to step back some," he said.

Hughes was an early supporter of Glendening when the Prince George's County executive ran for governor in 1994. Glendening's decision to make him party chairman signaled a political rebirth for Hughes, who was virtually banished from the State House during William Donald Schaefer's two terms as governor.

Glendening has tapped Peter B. Krauser, the party's second vice chairman and third-ranking official, to succeed Hughes. Krauser, 49, an Adelphi resident, has been an active Democratic fund-raiser with close ties to the Jewish community.

"It was time for the next generation to step up," said Glendening. "He's a person with deep respect in Prince George's and Montgomery counties. He has enthusiasm, commitment drive."

Krauser, an attorney with Krauser & Taub in Landover, is a longtime supporter of Glendening. In the 1994 gubernatorial election, he and his law partner gave $3,250 to the Glendening campaign, according to state records.

As chairman of the Alexander Williams Jr. campaign a decade ago, Krauser helped elect the first black as state's attorney for Prince George's County.

He is immediate past president of the Jewish Community Council of Greater Washington, which represents the interests of 220 synagogues and Jewish community organizations.

Much of Krauser's attention will likely be devoted to fund raising. Next year's Democratic nominee for governor is expected to encounter a strong challenge from the likely Republican candidate, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, who came within 6,000 votes of besting Glendening in 1994.

Krauser's appointment is subject to the endorsement of the party's executive committee, but that is considered a formality.

Hughes will officially step down at the state party's annual awards dinner May 12 in Baltimore.

Pub Date: 4/24/97

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