Gov. Parris N. Glendening, who will gain precious minutes of national exposure when he presents the winning trophy at Saturday's Preakness Stakes, is asking other gubernatorial candidates to refrain from politics for the day.
In a statement released by his campaign yesterday, the governor urged his opponents to respect the "family atmosphere" of Maryland racing's biggest day by not handing out literature or putting up political signs at Pimlico Race Course.
"I don't believe any of us should make political fodder on a day when people all over the nation, and the world, are watching Maryland on network television display," Glendening said.
The statement went on to raise the specter of "overwhelming hordes of people waving political signs and distributing literature."
Glendening's opponents scoffed at the notion of divorcing the Preakness from politics in an election year. They called the governor's request self-serving considering the free publicity he will gain during the awards ceremony.
"This is kind of silly to call a political time-out, when it's obviously not the intention," said Geyer Wise, campaign manager for Republican candidate Charles I. Ecker. "He's going to be on national TV, handing over a trophy to the winner."
"It's typical desperate Glendening," said Cheryl A. Benton, campaign manager for Montgomery County insurance broker Raymond F. Schoenke Jr. "He only wants the spotlight shone on him, not on his failed leadership and his broken promises."
George F. Harrison, a spokesman for another Democrat, Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, said her campaign signs would be up at the track and her supporters would be out to distribute literature.
"It's the right of the candidates to assemble and present their message to the crowd. We will do it without disrupting anything," Harrison said. "The governor must be worried."
Glendening, Schoenke and Rehrmann, as well as Republicans Ecker and Ellen R. Sauerbrey, are expected at Pimlico on Saturday.
Rehrmann, who supports allowing slot machines at the state's horse tracks, is expected to win backing from racing and gambling interests. She also handed out campaign material at last fall's Maryland Million races at Laurel Park race course. Glendening is opposed to expansion of gambling.
Pub Date: 5/14/98