Glendening begins airing local TV ads 3 months before primary, the spots are appearing on four Baltimore stations

June 10, 1998|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

Touting his record and ignoring his opponents, Gov. Parris N. Glendening began airing his first campaign ad of the year on Baltimore television stations yesterday.

The commercial mentions several Glendening initiatives approved by the General Assembly in the last 3 1/2 years, such as the state's new prepaid tuition program and a 10 percent cut in the income tax.

An incumbent governor's taking to the airwaves a full three months before the Democratic primary surprised some observers, but a Glendening campaign spokesman said that had long been the schedule.

"It's been planned for quite some time that we would take this record message to the voters at a reasonable early time, prior to when folks go away on vacation," said campaign spokesman Peter Hamm.

"People are just starting to focus on the election and figure out their choice. I think this is a collection of accomplishments that voters will find appealing."

One claimed accomplishment may be somewhat misleading.

The ad states that the Glendening administration "deployed 225 new state troopers to help local police in targeted 'hot spots.' "

A campaign booklet released yesterday outlining the Glendening administration's record also included a reference to "225 additional Maryland State troopers."

While Glendening and the Assembly did approve funding to hire and train 225 state troopers in 1997, the new recruits were needed to fill vacancies that had gone unfilled earlier in his administration because of budget constraints when troopers retired or left the force.

As of next month, when a state police class of about 75 troopers is sworn in, the agency expects to have an authorized force of 1,614 officers, an increase of only 50 from the time Glendening took office in January 1995, according to state records.

As recently as 1991, the state police had 1,776 authorized uniformed positions, although the agency has shifted some responsibilities from uniformed to non-uniformed personnel in recent years.

Hamm denied that the ad was misleading.

DTC "The bottom line is Governor Glendening has budgeted and paid for 225 new state troopers," Hamm said. "If the administration had not put that money in the budget, we would have 225 fewer troopers than we have now."

The ad began appearing on Baltimore television stations yesterday and will soon begin on Washington stations, Hamm said.

Hamm declined to say how long the ad would air, or how much the commercial time is costing.

The Glendening campaign has purchased more than $143,000 in air time at four Baltimore stations, according to public records maintained at the stations.

Cheryl A. Benton, campaign manager for Montgomery County businessman Raymond F. Schoenke Jr., a Democratic challenger to Glendening, said Glendening "is running ads because he is running scared."

Schoenke has tapped into his personal fortune to mount a heavy ad campaign in the last several weeks, spending some $450,000 on Baltimore air time alone, according to station records. Schoenke also has been airing commercials on Washington television.

George F. Harrison, a spokesman for Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, another Democratic challenger, declined to say when she will begin airing ads. She has pushed her candidacy using mailers and billboards.

Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the front-runner to face the Democratic nominee in the November general election, also would not divulge her plans for buying advertising, a spokeswoman said.

Pub Date: 6/10/98

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