Glendening raises $400,000 for re-election campaign 700 supporters attend fund-raiser in Baltimore

Campaign 1998

October 30, 1997|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening raised more than $400,000 for his re-election bid last night at a fund-raiser at the B&O Railroad Museum in Baltimore.

More than 700 supporters attended the event -- a two-tier affair with ticket prices of $125 and $1,000 -- to show their support for Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

In a brief speech, Glendening laid out the themes of his re-election campaign, taking credit for the state's strong economy, a drop in the welfare rolls and a decrease in violent crime.

"What's supposed to be up is up, and what's supposed to be down is down," he said.

Glendening also deviated from the standard fare to mention Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s agreement yesterday to build a new $300 million cold-rolling mill next to its Sparrows Point plant.

Campaign workers showed a 3 1/2 -minute video -- a preview of the Glendening-Townsend television commercials -- that highlighted what the governor counts as his accomplishments, including his anti-gambling stance, increased funding for education and lower personal income taxes.

The video, which was projected on a large screen for supporters' consumption, featured the music of country star Garth Brooks singing "We Shall Be Free."

The crowd included a handful of Baltimore legislators, a healthy sprinkling of administration officials and state employees, a few lobbyists and leaders of the Maryland State Teachers Association. They ate crab cakes, carved beef and stuffed mushroom caps.

Glendening, who set a state record for fund raising in a gubernatorial bid by amassing $5.2 million in his 1994 race, is being challenged in the Democratic primary in September by Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann.

Campaign officials were clearly pleased with the showing for the governor, who has suffered low standings in the polls during his first 3 1/2 years.

"I think that we turned the corner about six to eight months ago," said Michael D. Barnes, a former congressman from Montgomery County who is chairman of one of the governor's two campaign committees. "The governor is very much on the upswing, and people are beginning to recognize his leadership on a very wide range of issues."

Nevertheless, many of the state's top Democrats were absent, including Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who, ironically is featured with Glendening in the video.

Glendening-Townsend campaign officials downplayed the significance of the absence of the Democratic hierarchy.

"This is about people and our record," said Tim Phillips, a veteran campaign manager who was hired recently to direct the 1998 Glendening-Townsend effort. "This is not about a bunch of politicians speechifying."

Pub Date: 10/30/97

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