Fund-raiser in Georgetown yields $100,000 for governor Glendening feted at home once owned by Harrimans

October 07, 1997|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- In a mansion regarded as a shrine to the glamour of Democratic Party politics, wealthy friends of Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening contributed at least $100,000 last night to his 1998 re-election effort.

The Georgetown mansion was once owned by W. Averell Harriman, a former New York governor and diplomat, and his wife, Pamela. Glendening was feted by the mansion's owner, Dr. James D'Orta, and more than 100 guests, most of whom paid $1,000 each.

The governor seemed somewhat awed by his surroundings.

He said he was honored to be in a house where so many distinguished Democrats -- John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey and Adlai Stevenson -- had met to consider national and international issues.

"Fund-raisers are sometimes interesting, sometimes boring, but always a matter of political life. They have to be done," Glendening said.

D'Orta said the event was a "unique" outpouring of support from private citizens, physicians, government officials and others from the Baltimore and Washington areas.

Among the guests were David Modell, executive vice president of the Baltimore Ravens football team; Charles Manatt, former chairman of the Democratic National Committee; Annapolis lobbyist Gary Alexander; Del. Dan K. Morhaim of Baltimore County; and Maryland Secretary of Health Martin P. Wasserman.

Pamela Harriman, who died last year in Paris at the age of 76, was part diplomat, part fund-raiser and part aristocrat whom President Clinton called "a citizen of the world."

She was for a time Washington's No. 1 hostess and she became one of the party's top fund-raisers. She formed her own political action committee and dedicated it to the "revitalization of the Democratic Party."

She often entertained the party's leading lights at "salons" in the Georgetown house. To assist with what she called the "revitalization" of the party, she formed her own political action committee, dubbed "Pammy's PAC" by the Wall Street Journal.

When she lived there, the 1830 Federalist-style house was filled with paintings and antiques.

But there was more than art history in the room. Silver-framed photographs of familiar faces were everywhere: Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, a boyish-looking Robert F. Kennedy solemnly standing next to Pamela Harriman's husband.

Last night's event included stars of past and present Democratic heydays, notably Richard Goodwin, a member of John F. Kennedy's administration.

In brief remarks, Goodwin referred wryly to Democratic difficulties with fund raising and particularly to the vice president. "Al Gore will be here shortly because there's money here," he said.

Pub Date: 10/07/97

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