For governor, vote Parris Glendening Sun endorsement: His strong four-year record points to even better results in a second term.

October 18, 1998

ONCE again, Democrat Parris N. Glendening is locked in a dogfight with Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey in the race for governor. And again, as we did in 1994, The Sun concludes that Mr. Glendening is the better candidate.

We base this endorsement on Mr. Glendening's record. The Democrat has lived up to his campaign commitments and compiled an enviable list of progressive achievements.

He made Maryland a leader in land-use planning with his visionary "smart growth" initiative, his insistence on promoting revitalization of older communities and preserving green spaces.

He supported greater accountability in education through a testing program that has made Maryland a nationwide model. He backed his support for public schooling with massive infusions of money, especially for the state's worst-performing districts.

He guided Maryland responsibly through the final, lingering stages of economic recession into an era that has seen job growth rise.

He acted to protect the Chesapeake Bay against the Pfiesteria threat to fish.

He backed targeted business tax cuts and an income-tax cut.

He took on the gun lobby and won a big victory in limiting handgun sales to one a month.

He has coordinated a wide array of crime-prevention programs as violent-crime rates in Maryland have dropped.

His administration is responsible for a welfare-to-work program that is cited as a model elsewhere.

He promoted new programs for vulnerable Marylanders, such as those with mental and physical disabilities and the elderly.

And he has done as much to bring diversity to state government, especially in the judiciary, as any previous Maryland governor.

This is an impressive list of accomplishments. We expect Mr. Glendening to continue along this ambitious yet fiscally sound road in his second term.

To win on Nov. 3, he must defeat a determined Republican challenge. Ms. Sauerbrey has proven a much more polished campaigner this time, displaying a far better grasp of what it takes to govern.

Her more thoughtful stances on such issues as collective bargaining, gun control and abortion reflect a mature understanding of the limits of power and the need of a governor to seek consensus.

Yet voters are left wondering whether they should be guided by Ms. Sauerbrey's 16-year legislative history of obstructing most major state initiatives or her more recent statements that promise a pragmatic, problem-solving approach.

We are unwilling to make that leap of faith. Mr. Glendening's record, stacked up against Ms. Sauerbrey's, leaves no doubt that he is the better candidate.

Mr. Glendening is not charismatic. He has trouble connecting with voters and politicians. Yet he has carved out a highly successful career, capped off by a first-rate four years as governor.

He believes that elected officials must show compassion toward society's less fortunate citizens. That he has done. Maryland is a far stronger state as a result.

In a second term, we expect he will place greater emphasis on enhancing higher education; finding money for essential road-building and mass transit; supporting a woman's right of personal choice on abortion; making Maryland more business-friendly; helping localities further reduce crime; and demanding better public school performance.

That is a tall order. But Mr. Glendening's numerous successes so far give every reason for confidence that he can deliver an equally impressive second term in Annapolis.

Pub Date: 10/18/98

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