Brady plans to endorse Sauerbrey, sources say Former top aide to governor to speak at GOP fund-raiser

Campaign 1998

September 27, 1998|By Laura Lippman and William F. Zorzi Jr. | Laura Lippman and William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

James T. Brady, who resigned earlier this year as Gov. Parris N. Glendening's business and economic development secretary, will be the featured speaker at a fund-raiser for Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey next month when, campaign sources said, he will endorse her for governor.

Brady, who quit in April, citing differences over several of the governor's decisions, confirmed last night his role in the Sauerbrey fund-raiser scheduled for Oct. 14 in Baltimore -- stopping just short of saying he would endorse her.

"I will be speaking at the event on the 14th, and when the 14th comes, everything will be clear," said Brady, a Democrat who is highly respected in Maryland's business community -- and would be the second prominent party member to defect this month.

On another front, the gubernatorial battle heated up yesterday on the airwaves.

A day after Glendening released two new television commercials comparing his record on the environment and gun control to Sauerbrey's, her campaign responded with two ads that attacked the governor for negative campaigning.

"We're not going to let Parris Glendening get away with attacking Ellen without a response to it," said Jim Dornan, spokesman for the Republican challenger's campaign. "He got away with it in '94, but we're not going to let him get away with it now."

The ads were prepared before the Glendening spots aired Friday, in anticipation that the Democratic governor -- who until last week did not mention Sauerbrey's name in his advertising -- would go after her record.

The Sauerbrey campaign says she wants to take the high road, focusing on education and her proposed tax cut. However, her new 60-second radio spot deals mainly with Glendening's media consultant, Bob Shrum, who is called "a negative campaign expert specializing in vicious attacks against female candidates."

The Sauerbrey campaign also has a new 30-second television ad that emphasizes her tax-cut proposal but begins, "Isn't it sad, after four disappointing years, Parris Glendening is again running a negative campaign?"

The ad claims that Glendening "builds stadiums instead of classrooms." But, in this year's budget, Glendening included $250 million for school construction and renovation, the most in a state budget since the early 1970s.

Shrum is new to the Glendening campaign. Earlier this month, the governor ousted longtime consultants Greer, Margolis, Mitchell, Burns & Associates, and replaced them with Shrum, Devine and Donolin of Washington, the firm used by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski.

Three of the firm's Glendening ads have aired -- the two that so angered the Sauerbrey campaign, and another, more generic spot that attempted to condense Glendening's life and record in a 30-second montage.

Sauerbrey is characterized as "siding with polluters" in one ad, and described as "the NRA pointwoman" in the other. The gun control ad also points out that the National Rifle Association contributed $25,000 to her court challenge of the 1994 election results. But it was the ad on the environment that Sauerbrey's campaign found particularly nettlesome.

"That is a negative ad," Dornan said yesterday. "It contains mistruths and falsehoods." Asked for specifics, he said: "[The governor] alleges that Ellen did not support closing the [Pocomoke] river" during last summer's Pfiesteria outbreak on the Eastern Shore.

She did, however, call for the river to be reopened before the Glendening administration thought it was advisable.

The Glendening campaign responded yesterday by inviting Sauerbrey to a debate this week on the environment.

Brady earlier this year flirted briefly with the idea of running for governor as an independent to challenge his former boss.

While his defection was hardly a surprise, his endorsement of Sauerbrey would be a blow to Glendening, who has touted the administration's pro-business policies. Earlier this month, former Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg, a Democrat, endorsed Sauerbrey.

The governor's campaign downplayed the significance. "Jim Brady was frustrated as secretary of economic and business development, because the governor was not a rubber stamp for everything he wanted to do. ," said Glendening spokesman Peter S. Hamm.

Pub Date: 9/27/98

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