Rematch for governor Sauerbrey vs. Glendening

Schaefer wins

Perennial candidate Pierpont to face Mikulski for Senate

Abortion issue ousts 2

All eight members of U.S. House secure renomination

Primary 1998

September 16, 1998|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,SUN STAFF Sun staff writers JoAnna Daemmrich, Michael Dresser and William F. Zorzi Jr. contributed to this article.

Maryland voters handed Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey landslide victories in yesterday's

gubernatorial primary, clearing the way for a November rematch four years in the making.

On a day of low voter turnout, former Gov. William Donald Schaefer won the Democratic nomination in the race for state comptroller, but the Republican race among six candidates was too close to call.

Anti-abortion voters, meanwhile, showed their strength in parts of Maryland as the state Senate's two ranking Republicans -- both abortion rights advocates -- were defeated by more conservative challengers.

Sen. F. Vernon Boozer of Baltimore County, the Senate minority leader, and Sen. John W. Derr of Frederick, the minority whip, both lost in campaigns that revolved largely around abortion.

On the federal level, perennial candidate Ross Z. Pierpont won the Republican primary and the right to face U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the two-term Democrat from Baltimore, in November.

All eight members of the House of Representatives from Maryland won their primaries and will face lesser-known challengers in the Nov. 3 general election.

In the Republican primary for governor, Sauerbrey easily turned back the challenge of Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker, who waged an underfunded campaign that gained little traction with GOP voters.

With 99 percent of precincts counted, Sauerbrey led Ecker 81 percent to 19 percent.

As Ecker pledged his support, Sauerbrey vowed to avenge her narrow loss to Glendening four years ago.

Even as she called for a campaign spent "debating each other, not demonizing each other," Sauerbrey made clear that she will highlight questions about Glendening's credibility.

"More than anything else, our mission has got to be to restore trust and integrity and commitment to principle in government," Sauerbrey told a crowd of more than 300 supporters at a hotel near Baltimore-Washington International Airport last night.

Glendening, meanwhile, trounced an anti-abortion candidate, Davidsonville physician Terry McGuire, and Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, who abandoned her cash-strapped campaign in August too late to have her name taken off the ballot.

Glendening was leading with 70 percent of the vote; Rehrmann had 13 percent and McGuire 11 percent.

Seeking party unity

Looking ahead to November, the governor reached out last night to Democrats who had backed his opponents in the primary, reminding them that there are major policy differences separating him from Sauerbrey.

"If you supported Eileen Rehrmann or Terry McGuire -- both fine, hard-working individuals -- we ask you to support us," said Glendening, addressing the Democratic faithful gathered at a Baltimore hotel.

"There is a clear choice approaching in November."

A recent poll showed Glendening and Sauerbrey locked in a dead heat in the general election race, with about 10 percent of the voters undecided.

The most competitive statewide contest last night came in the battle to succeed Louis L. Goldstein, who died in July after serving as Maryland comptroller for almost 40 years.

Boonsboro banker Timothy R. Mayberry and Owings Mills accountant Larry M. Epstein were locked in a dead heat, with the outcome likely to be decided by more than 7,000 absentee ballots to be counted in coming days.

Prince George's County attorney Michael Steele, who had been endorsed by Sauerbrey, was running third.

On the Democratic side, Schaefer, 76, began his comeback after four years away from state politics.

He was outpacing Baltimore Comptroller Joan M. Pratt 55 percent to 25 percent.

"I feel really good," Schaefer said last night. "I can do this job. I know what this job is about."

In the other statewide race, Maryland attorney general J. Joseph Curran Jr., a Democrat, and Republican Paul H. Rappaport were unchallenged in the primary and will square off in November.

Voters also nominated candidates for all 188 General Assembly seats.

In one of the most closely watched state Senate races, voters in West Baltimore's 41st District looked past overwhelming evidence that incumbent Sen. Clarence W. Blount has not lived in the district for years, and he was nominated to an eighth four-year term.

With no Republican running, the Democratic nominee is assured of winning in November.


Mitchell defeats Jefferies

Meanwhile, Del. Clarence M. Mitchell IV defeated Sen. John D. Jefferies in the Democratic primary for Baltimore's 44th District Senate seat, the position held by Larry Young before his January expulsion for ethics violations.

As in the 41st, no Republican filed for the Senate seat in the 44th.

The most startling Assembly result was the defeat of Boozer, the moderate 28-year legislative veteran.

Speaking to a crowd of shocked supporters in a Cockeysville banquet hall, Boozer seemed bitter, but resigned.

"I lost, and if I had a chance to do it all over again -- with the partial-birth abortion -- they can have the job," he said.

"I care too much about the women, their health and their lives. Don't cry for me."

Boozer lost to Andrew P. Harris, an anesthesiologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who had criticized Boozer's vote this year against a ban on a controversial late-term abortion procedure.

In Frederick, Derr lost to Alexander X. Mooney, a 27-year-old former aide to U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, who ran to Derr's right and blasted the incumbent for his abortion-rights votes.

Karyn Strickler, an abortion-rights lobbyist in Annapolis and Washington, was despondent over the news of Boozer's and Derr's defeat and suggested that abortion may emerge as an important issue in the governor's race.

"We may well have lost our pro-choice majority in the state Senate," Strickler said last night.

"This proves the absolute importance of electing a pro-choice governor in November."

Election results

Complete primary election results are available on The Sun's Web site. The address is

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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