Gubernatorial candidates urge voters to visit polls Nov. 3 Turnout could decide outcome in tight race

Campaign 1998

October 26, 1998|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,SUN STAFF

From large churches to a corner bar, the two candidates for governor of Maryland made the same plea to crowds of people yesterday: Please vote.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening and Ellen R. Sauerbrey kept repeating that refrain as they began their final full week of campaigning in a tight race that is expected to hinge on voter turnout.

The Democratic governor and his Republican rival crisscrossed the state to attend separate morning church services -- Glendening starting in Baltimore and Sauerbrey in Prince George's County. Later in the day, Glendening and Sauerbrey courted core supporters, trying to consolidate their political bases and generate enthusiasm for the Nov. 3 election.

At Jericho Baptist Church in Lanham, a so-called megachurch in Prince George's, Glendening led a parade of prominent Maryland Democrats to urge voters to go to the polls.

"Will this vote turn out? Will Prince George's County turn out? Will African-American voters turn out?" Glendening said to the 3,500 people in the pews.

"There are people betting you will not. I believe you will."

The governor, who served as Prince George's County executive for three terms, made clear that he is counting on his home base. He credited the county with providing much of his narrow margin of victory over Sauerbrey in 1994.

U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Prince George's Executive Wayne K. Curry, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer of Southern Maryland and other well-known Democratic elected officials joined Glendening in exhorting the crowd to vote.

Sauerbrey chatted with supporters watching the Ravens football game at a bar on her home turf. At Howard's Pub in Dundalk, Sauerbrey, who used to represent Baltimore County in the state legislature, picked up a slice of pizza and some votes.

"I'm feeling great," she said. "This next week is going to be largely an effort to be in as many places as possible and shake as many hands as possible and hopefully energize the voters."

Though Democrats have a nearly 2-1 edge in voter registration in Maryland, many local analysts believe Sauerbrey's supporters are more energized by the race. Democratic elected officials plan to step up their efforts on Glendening's behalf, and several special interest groups hope to help with radio ads attacking his opponent.

Beginning today, the Sierra Club will air 60-second radio commercials slamming Sauerbrey's environmental record during her 16 years in the legislature. Another radio spot critical of Sauerbrey, produced by a group of Baltimore ministers, will begin playing for the first time this afternoon on Washington stations. Several Democratic politicians in the Maryland suburbs of Washington put up the money to expand the radio buy.

Pub Date: 10/26/98

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