After light workouts, it's time for main event Sauerbrey-Glendening: Rematch pits 'education governor' against committed tax cutter.

September 16, 1998

WITH THEIR easy victories in last night's primaries out of the way, Ellen R. Sauerbrey and Parris N. Glendening can stop the shadowboxing and start the main event -- a replay of 1994's photo finish in which Mr. Glendening barely won the governorship.

It is difficult to draw many lessons from last night's primary. Ms. Sauerbrey predictably displayed overwhelming support among Republican voters in trouncing Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker. Given the growing Republican registration figures, this should give her a solid base for November.

Governor Glendening, meanwhile, had no viable Democratic foe after Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann pulled the plug on her cash-starved campaign in early August. He won the primary in a walk over conservative Terry McGuire. Yet a substantial block of voters opposed Mr. Glendening. They represent disgruntled Democrats who may desert the party in the general election Nov. 3.

Mr. Glendening now has seven weeks to patch up primary wounds and unify the Democratic Party. Of particular concern to him: The defections of Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry during the summer campaign. So far, they haven't shown many signs of reconciliation.

The governor could be helped, though, by the renewed popularity of former two-term Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who rolled up a wide margin in the Democratic primary for state comptroller. The easy renomination of popular Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski could also give Mr. Glendening a boost.

The governor's main theme so far has been education. Ms. Sauerbrey once again has come up with a tax-cut proposal -- this time for seniors -- as her centerpiece.

The two nominees have strongly opposing views on how to run state government. November's vote will give Marylanders a clear choice between a dedicated liberal and a passionate conservative.

Voter turnout yesterday was slim. That is a big disappointment. Turnout in November could be critical. That means both parties and the candidates should make a concerted effort to overcome hTC public apathy and disgust with politics these days.

With a replay of the Sauerbrey-Glendening race, every vote will count.

Pub Date: 9/16/98

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