Glendening gets personal Campaign Ad Watch

September 24, 1998|By JoAnna Daemmrich

Gov. Parris N. Glendening is reintroducing himself to Marylanders with a new, personalized television commercial that talks of his humble beginnings and his accomplishments in office.

What the ad says: The 30-second spot that began running yesterday shows a different side of the pragmatic, professorial Democratic incumbent. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend introduces Glendening as a private man who "doesn't talk much about himself," who grew up in poverty and found "a lifeline" through education. The ad goes on to portray Glendening as a decisive leader who acted to limit handgun sales and to protect the Chesapeake Bay after last year's fish-killing outbreak.

The facts: Glendening, 56, lived as a boy in a two-room shack outside Miami that had no electricity or indoor plumbing, as the ad states. He got scholarships and worked part-time to pay his way through college, and he received his Ph.D. from Florida State University at age 25. As governor, he led the effort for new pollution controls in the wake of last summer's Pfiesteria scare. The legislature, at Glendening's urging, passed a bill requiring Maryland farmers to adopt plans to reduce nutrient pollution -- which scientists have linked to toxic outbreaks of Pfiesteria. The governor also pushed through a law limiting an individual's handgun purchases in Maryland to one a month.

Analysis: The commercial gives Glendening, a former college professor who often comes across as stiff, even aloof, a friendlier public image. Produced by his new media consultants, it also is a counterpoint to a well-regarded television spot being run by his Republican opponent, Ellen R. Sauerbrey. Herb Smith, a political science professor at Western Maryland College, calls Glendening's new spot a "positive definition ad -- 'Here's who I am, where I come from and what I stand for.' " But Smith says the ad may be attempting to cover too much ground at once. Smith does credit the ad with reminding Marylanders that Glendening has been active on behalf of two of their top concerns -- guns and the environment. Sauerbrey often voted against efforts on both fronts as a state delegate.

Pub Date: 9/24/98

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