Mayor courted by GOP camp But Schmoke says endorsing Sauerbrey is 'not in the cards'

Glendening is left waiting

September 25, 1998|By William F. Zorzi Jr. and Ivan Penn | William F. Zorzi Jr. and Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF Sun staff writer Michael Dresser contributed to this article.

Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who has yet to join the re-election effort of his party's incumbent governor, acknowledged yesterday that he met recently with Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey at her request to talk about the city and its needs.

Schmoke offered few details of the private meeting and, although Sauerbrey would welcome his support, said he had no intention of endorsing the Republican.

"There's been no attempt to get me involved in that campaign," Schmoke said. "That's not in the cards."

But his willingness to meet with Sauerbrey and his continued refusal to join forces with Gov. Parris N. Glendening seemed to underscore the difficulties the governor faces in his re-election bid.

Two other major Democratic players -- Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, who sought the party's nomination for governor, and Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry, who backed her candidacy -- have yet to embrace the Glendening campaign.

Sauerbrey said she asked for the meeting with Schmoke as part of an effort to reach out to Democrats and establish a dialogue with the mayor about the future of Baltimore.

"We talked about the needs of the city, from concerns about the education system to the crime problems, the need to bring more jobs and economic development, and the need to stem the hemorrhaging of people leaving the city," she said.

Asked about the possibility of Schmoke endorsing her, Sauerbrey said: "Obviously, I have let it be known that everyone or anyone who has indicated they're unhappy with Parris Glendening would be welcome and their support would be welcome."

But, she added, "I fully recognize that Kurt Schmoke is a lifelong Democrat. My objective was primarily to create an atmosphere where we could work together in the future."

Schmoke said he asked Sauerbrey her thoughts about Baltimore, but he did not elaborate further about the conversation.

Neither Schmoke nor Sauerbrey revealed where they met, but she said it was not at City Hall. Both said the meeting took place "a couple of weeks ago," and Sauerbrey aides said her schedule suggested that it was probably Saturday morning, Sept. 5 -- 10 days before the primary election.

Peter S. Hamm, a spokesman for the Glendening campaign, declined to comment on the meeting.

Meanwhile, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller continued his call yesterday for Democrats to unite behind Glendening and said it is time for the governor to "reach out" to Schmoke, Curry and Rehrmann.

Their "sitting on the sidelines" and letting Sauerbrey win, he said, would have serious consequences for their jurisdictions -- particularly Baltimore.

"They will have their names forever inscribed in the book of public officials who have made tragic errors," Miller said.

"If Ellen Sauerbrey is elected governor, Baltimore will become an island and not a very nice island either," Miller said.

Hamm acknowledged the importance of support from Schmoke and Curry -- the state's top two African-American leaders and the heads of jurisdictions vital to Glendening's re-election effort.

"Mayor Schmoke and County Executive Curry have to understand that there's a clear choice in this election," he said.

Asked what kind of efforts are being made to seek their support, Hamm said, "Those are private matters that are best not bandied about on pages of a morning newspaper."

Schmoke said that his "political people" have talked with members of the Glendening camp but that he has not spoken directly with the governor about what he would do in the Nov. 3 general election. Schmoke said his involvement in the governor's campaign depends on Glendening.

"He's got to decide how he wants me to get involved," Schmoke said.

There appears to be no imminent commitment from Rehrmann.

George F. Harrison, her spokesman, said yesterday that she is not prepared at this point to get involved in Glendening's campaign despite calls by Miller and others.

"Senate President Miller has been working hard for quite some time to get everyone to support the governor," Harrison said.

"County Executive Rehrmann entered the race in the first place," he said, "because she felt the governor would have difficulty winning.

"She has not yet decided what she is going to do."

Pub Date: 9/25/98

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