Schmoke rallies for governor Baltimore's mayor surprises him at event

Campaign 1998

October 11, 1998|By William F. Zorzi Jr. | William F. Zorzi Jr.,SUN STAFF

In a surprise appearance yesterday, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke stood beside Gov. Parris N. Glendening and enthusiastically pledged his support of the governor's re-election bid -- to the relief and delight of Maryland Democratic Party officials looking on.

Schmoke, who had supported a Glendening rival in the Democratic primary, showed up unannounced for a morning meeting of the party at a Southeast Baltimore union hall, where the governor swore in new members of the state central committee.

"I'm going to work, you're going to work and he's going to win in November," he told nearly 250 party officials from across the state.

The event was the first time the two men had appeared together since Schmoke and Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry endorsed Glendening at City Hall on Thursday -- though the governor, remarkably, was not invited to attend the announcement.

Schmoke and Curry had come under intense pressure in recent weeks from other Democrats to put aside their long-standing grievances with the governor and endorse him.

The events surrounding the endorsement raised questions from some Democrats about whether Schmoke and Curry, both of whom are personally estranged from Glendening, would work for the governor's re-election -- or whether they were paying lip service to the effort.

But by dropping in yesterday, Schmoke clearly signaled to party officials that he was serious in his support of Glendening, who faces a strong challenge from Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey in the Nov. 3 election.

"Over the last four years, Parris Glendening and his team have brought a record of achievement and pride to this state," Schmoke said. "It is now our responsibility to go out and simply convey it to everybody that it's in their own interest to make sure that this Democratic team is elected on Nov. 3."

Glendening was pleased with the mayor's comments.

"It was a great speech, a great speech," he said, beaming.

The governor said he believed Schmoke was sincere in committing to work for his re-election by turning out the vote in Baltimore next month.

"There's no question," Glendening said. "First of all, you can hear the enthusiasm in his voice. And it wasn't the canned speech. It was enthusiastic, it was from the heart.

"Secondly, he didn't have to be there," he said. "He wasn't scheduled to be there. He went out of his way in a busy schedule to show up."

Almost as significant as the mayor's presence yesterday was that of Larry S. Gibson, a political adviser to Schmoke and Curry, two of the state's top African-American leaders. Gibson had managed the Democratic primary bid of Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, who was endorsed by both men.

Baltimore City Councilman Robert Curran, a Northeast Baltimore Democrat, said he thought "the mayor was pretty convincing" in his remarks.

"Larry Gibson was here -- and that's a pretty good indication of his sincerity," Curran said.

Democratic Party Chairman Peter B. Krauser said he was "delighted" and seemed equally as relieved by Schmoke's display.

"Everybody's very excited that he's going to go all-out for the governor," Krauser said. "I don't think he left any doubt he was in full support of this governor in this election."

Glendening echoed that sentiment, saying he believed Schmoke would work hard to get out the vote.

"We may have agreed in the past and disagreed in the past, but he's been a man of his word," the governor said. "If he says he's going to do something, he does it.

"He says he's going to be actively, personally involved to help turn out the vote -- and that's all we can ask for," he said.

Schmoke said in an interview that his organization would reopen his campaign headquarters at 213 St. Paul Place this week on Glendening's behalf to distribute the new signs and other campaign material in the final three weeks of the race.

"Our folks have got a good network, and we're going to try to energize that network and set forth the positives of Glendening's record," the mayor said.

Schmoke said he would appearwith Glendening in Baltimore in an effort to rally the Democratic troops, but no dates have been set.

With the attention paid to the Schmoke-Glendening relationship, was clear yesterday that the mayor was concerned about the "misperception" of scheduling conflicts that have prevented him from appearing with the governor.

For instance, Glendening is scheduled to appear today at the mayor's church, Douglas Memorial Community Church, on a traditional campaign tour of West Baltimore churches. Schmoke said he found out about that appearance only Friday night and had agreed to attend a service at the same time at Enon Baptist Church.

Schmoke also said he would be unable to attend a Get-Out-the-Vote rally with the governor this week in Baltimore because he is scheduled to be in Phoenix, Ariz., that day to meet with officials of the U.S. Olympic Committee.

"I'm really trying to make sure that people don't read too much into it," he said.

Pub Date: 10/11/98

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