Sauerbrey's volunteer director in Montgomery County resigns He blames dispute with campaign manager

Campaign 1988

November 20, 1997|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

In the second sign of internal unrest in the past week, Republican gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey's volunteer executive director for Montgomery County is quitting because of disputes with the political professional brought in to run her campaign statewide.

Allen Prettyman, who had headed the campaign in Maryland's largest county since August of last year, said yesterday that he is resigning effective Dec. 1 because of personal and philosophical differences with campaign manager David Albert.

In a letter to Albert this week, Prettyman bluntly warned that if he remains campaign manager, Sauerbrey "will lose either the primary or general" election.

"Your lack of management skills is evident and added to your lack of the understanding of the electorate in Montgomery County, a Republican governor will not happen in 1998," the letter said.

Prettyman, who did not provide the letter but confirmed the quote, said he also sent a letter to Sauerbrey delivering a similar warning. He said he had tried to reach the candidate by electronic mail before going public but had not received any replies.

Sauerbrey did not return calls requesting a comment yesterday, and Albert was said to be out of town. Carol Hirschburg, a campaign consultant who said she was speaking on Sauerbrey's behalf, dismissed the matter as "a tempest in a teapot."

Prettyman, 48, a retired police officer, is the second person in the past week to cite friction with Albert as the main reason for leaving the campaign. On Friday, press secretary Laura Woolfrey said she had been forced out because of a personality conflict with Albert.

Both have said they will continue to support Sauerbrey in her effort to unseat Democratic Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

"She has to win. We can't have Glendening there any longer," said Prettyman, a Gaithersburg financial planner who ran unsuccessfully for the 1994 Republican nomination for county executive.

Prettyman criticized the campaign's recent emphasis on fund raising and "lack of respect and trust in the field organization."

"This heavy reliance on money and less reliance on grass roots is not the way I feel is going to win," he said.

But Hirschburg said Prettyman should understand that volunteers cannot set policy in an election campaign.

"He seems to be a bit impatient about the way the campaign is going. He probably doesn't understand these are things you have to do to build at this stage of the campaign that are different from the things you do a month before the election," Hirschburg said.

She said the co-chairmen of the Montgomery campaign, state Sen. Patrick J. Hogan and former Sen. Howard A. Denis, would take over the operation.

Hogan said the clash between Prettyman and Albert was a sign of "growing pains" in a campaign that is far different from Sauerbrey's 1994 effort.

"It can't be run out of a shoe box," said Hogan. "It requires some professional organization to do what needs to be done."

Hogan stood behind Albert, who joined the Sauerbrey campaign in June.

"He's very professional and has a tremendous amount of experience, but he says things exactly as he sees them," Hogan said. "That may be something people don't agree with."

Pub Date: 11/20/97

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