Sauerbrey's comments kept at bay on ill fish Issue: The Republican has been temperate in how Gov. Parris N. Glendening has handled the Pfiesteria scare. But some in the GOP have ventured a bit further in their criticism.

The Political Game

September 30, 1997|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

THE 1998 RACE for governor, which might have begun a few hours after the 1994 race for governor ended, is taking on a certain edge.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey, bidding fair to be the GOP candidate in 1998 just as she was in 1994, has so far been notably temperate in commenting on Gov. Parris N. Glendening's handling of the Pfiesteria piscicida scare.

The problem is serious, vexing and in need of the best scientific minds, she has been saying. Yesterday, though, she wondered if it isn't time for Glendening to reopen one of the rivers he closed out of public health concerns.

Meanwhile, others in her party are not as forebearing. One has devised a bumper sticker:

"Governor Glendening Even the fish are sick." Nevertheless, 500 of these strips -- black background with white lettering -- are being printed at this moment.

And, at Sauerbrey's fund-raiser Saturday, the host, Shelley Kamins, asked his guests this rhetorical question: "Don't you think it's symbolic that our current governor is associated with rotting fish?"

Kamins is also chairman of GOPAC, the political education and action committee founded by former Delaware Gov. Pierre S. "Pete" du Pont IV and brought to national prominence by House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

To err is embarrassing

As a fan of Gov. Parris N. Glendening and the Washington Redskins, Democratic Prince George's Del. Carolyn J. B. Howard was happy to hear recently that she had been invited to sit with the governor during the inaugural game at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium. Glendening has a special box at Cooke Stadium, at Oriole Park and at Memorial Stadium where the Ravens play.

The new Redskins park is located in Howard's back yard -- her legislative district. She didn't vote for the legislation that provided money to pay for highway and other improvements at Cooke stadium, but she's a big football fan and has had Redskins season tickets for years.

She eagerly accepted the invitation and waited for her pass to the gubernatorial box. It never arrived. Just the opposite, in fact. The same gubernatorial emissary called to say Howard was not invited after all. So sorry.

"It was tacky and disrespectful -- not disrespectful to me, but to my constituents," Howard said.

A chagrined and apologetic Joe Brice, chief legislative aide to the governor, calls it a regrettable, human scheduling mistake. Howard was on the list of those who would be invited to a game -- but not the opening game.

"It was a staff screw-up," he said. "We apologized. It's a mistake that shouldn't have happened. We're sorry. The governor didn't know about it." Unfortunately, Brice said, mistakes can lead willing speculators to attach all sorts of nefarious motives to something entirely innocent.

Some wonder if Howard was bumped as the result of a local political fight between state Sen. Decatur W. Trotter and Del. Nathaniel Exum, both Prince George's Democrats. Exum may run against Trotter for the Senate next year, and Howard has been an ally of Exum's. Followers of this theory believe Trotter wanted Howard, the friend of his political enemy, banned.

Howard was not buying any particular theory, but she found the episode most curious. Asked if the incident would alter her allegiance to Glendening, she said, "I'm going to support the person who is best, someone of integrity. And that's all I'll say."

A time for raising funds and getting autographs

Organizers of the Republican fund-raiser Saturday in Potomac were using the right mailing list. Some guests wrote $4,000 checks, the maximum allowable under Maryland law. And the event was filled with Republican lawmakers.

On the long, winding street outside, the one that laced together a development of museum-like houses, a license plate carried these letters:

"Fre Mrkt."

One of the guests, Howard County Councilman Dennis Schrader, came with a bubble gum card bearing the picture of a crew-cut Jack Kemp, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback who ran for vice president in 1996. Kemp was on hand to help Sauerbrey in her fund-raising exploits as was Schrader, a Republican candidate for Howard County executive.

When last seen, Schrader was hoping to sack Kemp long enough for an autograph.

Pub Date: 9/30/97

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