Kemp adds clout, cash to Sauerbrey fund-raiser She builds war chest for governor's race

Campaign 1998

September 28, 1997|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

With the help of a Republican superstar, 250 check-writing supporters and an elegant pool-side party, Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey put another $100,000 into her 1998 gubernatorial campaign kitty yesterday.

Tickets for the two-tier event in Potomac were $200 to $500 for a reception and picture-taking session with the candidate and her special guest, Jack Kemp, the 1996 Republican vice presidential candidate and former secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Sauerbrey's finance committee chairman, Dick Hug, said some guests were moved to write checks for $4,000, the maximum allowable contribution to one candidate under Maryland law. Sauerbrey had raised $680,000 -- not including yesterday's total -- and before yesterday had about $200,000 cash on hand.

Her goal: $4 million for her second effort to win the office that barely eluded her in 1994. To reach such sums, candidates must work at it almost every day, usually taking much smaller steps than yesterday's.

She believes her chances of unseating the incumbent Democrat, Parris N. Glendening, improve every day, and yesterday's turnout on a brilliant autumn Saturday suggested that others are willing to put money on it.

In brief remarks, Sauerbrey promised to "truly" reduce the tax burden on Maryland families if she is elected. Glendening and the Maryland General Assembly approved a 10 percent income tax cut during this year's legislative session. "Government has to stop undermining families," which it does by taking so much of the money they earn, she said.

Kemp told his affluent audience that he expects Sauerbrey to have appeal across economic and racial lines. He called her a "progressive conservative" who will write off no segment of voters despite her party's reputation for doing precisely that. Democrats, he said, are accused of taking black voters for granted while Republicans write them off.

"Ellen Sauerbrey won't take any vote for granted," he said. Her message of lower taxes, less government interference and better jobs should play as well in the inner city of Baltimore as anywhere.

Yesterday's audience included GOP Reps. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who represents Western Maryland and portions of Howard and Carroll counties, and Constance A. Morella of Montgomery County; and former state Senator Howard A. Denis of Montgomery County. Denis ran for lieutenant governor in the 1994 Republican primary with former Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley.

He said he expects Sauerbrey to do "fabulously well" -- approaching 50 percent or more -- in Montgomery County, one of the three jurisdictions won in 1994 by Glendening. "She's kept her contacts here," Denis said. "And she's been aided and abetted by the current governor, who seems to have a new problem every day." Glendening ran as a policy wonk but now appears to be a "political tactician," he said.

The host of yesterday's event was Shelly Kamins, a real estate developer and investor who is also chairman of GOPAC, an educational and fund-raising organization founded by former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. "Pete" du Pont IV and brought to wider prominence by House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Kamins described the contributors as "a cross section of business and professional people who are part of a growing wave of Sauerbrey supporters."

A successful fund-raiser does more than put money in the bank, he said. "It proves that your organization is touching people with a message and [is] well-organized. No one is forced to give. It's totally voluntary."

Pub Date: 9/28/97

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