All singled out for '94 victory Governor: Parris N. Glendening offers the same thanks to each group of supporters because of his narrow win in the last race.

The Political Game

July 28, 1998|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF

GOV. PARRIS N. Glendening just wanted to thank some special friends the other night at a union hall in South Baltimore.

"If it weren't for your support, I wouldn't be here tonight," the governor told a group of more than 300 members of the state AFL-CIO, referring to his victory margin of just under 6,000 votes in 1994.

But the men and women of the AFL-CIO, which endorsed Glendening again, shouldn't feel too special: Glendening has been saying the same thing all over the state in the past two weeks.

For the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance in Baltimore, Glendening had a rather similar word of thanks.

"I'm not sure I'd be here without your support individually and collectively," Glendening told the group after picking up its endorsement.

Ditto for several hundred members of the Baltimore Building and Construction Trades Council, which is on board with Glendening again.

Ditto again for hundreds of activists associated with Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, or BUILD, which gave Glendening a solid rating -- although not a formal endorsement -- Thursday.

"In all candor, I'm not sure I would be here if it weren't for you," the governor told the BUILD members.

In all candor, can each of those groups be responsible for Glendening's victory?

Well, kind of, says Peter S. Hamm, Glendening's campaign spokesman.

"I would argue that when you only win by 6,000 votes, that if it hadn't been for every group that was there for you, you wouldn't have been there," Hamm said.

Hamm suggested that the governor will keep sharing the credit for the 1994 victory as he campaigns.

"It may be pushing it if he had won by 20 points," he said. "But if I have my way, he'll say it to every single group he addresses between now and Election Day."

12 legislators travel to Las Vegas convention

A dozen Maryland senators and delegates went on the road last week for a few days in Las Vegas, mostly courtesy of state taxpayers, for the annual convention of the National Conference of State Legislators.

Lawmakers who attend NCSL and similar conventions say they receive great benefit from the various meetings, which focus on issues that confront states across the country.

Because more than a handful of lawmakers were getting together, a few lobbyists naturally showed up as well.

Several stalwarts of the State House lobbying corps made the trek to spend some quality time with the Maryland contingent, including Dennis C. McCoy, Alan M. Rifkin and Gary R. Alexander.

"It's good for education and learning, making new relationships, sharing experiences with people you already know," said lobbyist Bruce C. Bereano, who sprang for dinner for some of the Maryland entourage one night. "I had a lot of interaction."

Rifkin said he spent much of his time in Las Vegas meeting with his corporate clients. (Corporations with interests pending in state legislatures around the country typically pick up much of the cost of the conventions.)

As for spending time with Maryland legislators, Rifkin said that was less of a priority. "I can do that at home," he noted.

Also venturing into the capital of the casino gambling industry were representatives of Maryland's thoroughbred racetracks, including majority owner Joseph A. De Francis.

Give Rehrmann credit for mentioning slots

On the subject of gambling, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Eileen M. Rehrmann might deserve a few points for courage for bringing up racing's No. 1 issue -- slot machines -- no matter the circumstances.

Last week, Rehrmann enthusiastically touted the need to bring the machines to Maryland horse tracks -- delivering the message to BUILD, a group anchored in a network of Baltimore churches to which gambling is anathema.

Rehrmann tried to sell slots as a way of raising revenue for social programs important to the organization.

"I'm saying let's keep this money in Maryland," said Rehrmann. "We can make a big difference by keeping these dollars here."

The response from BUILD supporters to the gambling pitch was lukewarm, at best.

Pub Date: 7/28/98

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