Glendening expected at fund-raiser for Turner Democrat denies feeling 'vulnerable' in election

Campaign 1998

May 24, 1998|By Gady A. Epstein | Gady A. Epstein,SUN STAFF

Republicans say that the big names invited to Democratic Del. Frank S. Turner's fund-raiser today -- Gov. Parris N. Glendening, U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski and Paul S. Sarbanes, Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin and House of Delegates Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. -- show how important it is to his re-election campaign.

Unfortunately for Turner, he scheduled it on Memorial Day weekend, and the senators and congressman likely won't attend.

But Glendening will be there, and the GOP says that's a sign Turner is looking for help to hold onto the District 13A seat he won by fewer than 800 votes in 1994.

"They're going to pull out all the stops," said Joyce Lyons Terhes, state GOP chairwoman, who also took a shot at Turner's choice of company. "He's brave enough to have the governor stand with him. More credit to him."

Turner, who plans today to endorse the governor for the Democratic nomination, says he invited Glendening because he has a good relationship with him, not because he feels he needs help.

"I don't feel that vulnerable," Turner said last week. "I have an excellent record. I've worked hard on getting school-construction money, I've worked hard on getting money for the Smith farm [in Columbia] and I've worked hard on getting highway money."

Indeed, as an incumbent in this Democratic district representing east Columbia and much of southern Howard, Turner may not be so vulnerable.

"It's an important race for us," says Peter B. Krauser, chairman of the state Democratic Party. "[But] I think they already had their shot. Last time around, it was a closer race. Now Frank Turner is much better known, he's had the opportunity to do a great job and people recognize it."

Still, in a county that has grown more Republican with each election, Turner is the Democratic legislator the GOP holds out the most hope of defeating.

Running against Turner and fellow first-term incumbent Democrat Shane Pendergrass in this two-delegate district are Republicans Hans K. Meeder, a first-time candidate, and Michael Grasso, who nearly beat Turner in 1994.

Turner said that today's kickoff fund-raiser at the Columbia Pontiac and Buick dealership is as important as any other, and that he hopes to raise $8,000. But he acknowledges that the $40-per-person event is more of a challenge because it is scheduled on a weekend when many people have other plans.

"This is a fund-raiser where I'm almost defying the odds," Turner says. "I've still been able to attract a reasonable number of people that have prepaid."

He said he didn't think his guests would be disappointed that several invited politicians are likely to be no-shows.

"Most of them tell me they're coming to see me," Turner said.

Pub Date: 5/24/98

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