Bush's sister makes campaign stop in Timonium

She says Texas governor won't skip Maryland

February 13, 2000|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

Local supporters of George W. Bush brought his sister to town yesterday, rallying their troops to put together a campaign apparatus in the three weeks left before the March 7 primary.

It wasn't a long trip for Doro Bush Koch -- she lives in Bethesda -- but she still got a couple of standing ovations from the 100 or so who came to the Timonium motel for the morning gathering.

"Maryland is important to my brother," she said. "He is going to campaign in every state. He is not skipping any state."

Koch was contrasting the Bush campaign with the tactic of his opponent for the Republican presidential nomination, Sen. John McCain, who concentrated his early efforts in New Hampshire, which he won handily, and South Carolina, which votes Saturday.

"New Hampshire was not a pleasant experience," said Koch, who encountered hostility while campaigning there. "In fact, I am trying to figure out how to get to Maine without going through New Hampshire."

The Bush family -- Doro, 40, is the youngest of the former president's five children -- has an estate in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Two-time gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey, the state chairman for Bush, said there was good news and bad news from New Hampshire, where she spent several days helping the campaign.

"The bad news you already know about," she said. "The good news is that it really has galvanized the campaign. People realize we are not just going to float into this nomination, we have to win it. The result is we are going to have a much better prepared candidate for November."

But Maryland will probably not get a visit by George W. Bush before the primary. Richard Hug, Bush's state finance director, said Bush does plan to be in Maryland in March after the primary for a fund-raiser at PSINet Stadium.

Hug said the campaign has raised $1.4 million in Maryland but that money went "straight to Austin," not to the campaign here.

Sauerbrey indicated that states such as Maryland that might have been taken for granted by the national Bush organization are now going to get some attention. She expects a delivery of literature tomorrow, but yesterday had to be content with handing out fliers brought back from the Delaware primary.

Those at the meeting did get a list of "talking points" to use when discussing the race. The paper points to Bush's record as Texas governor on education, taxes and welfare reform, emphasizing the campaign's new theme, "A Reformer with Results."

But it also takes clear aim at McCain, saying his record "suggests that he lacks an understanding of the basic constitutional principles of limited government, freedom of speech, and private property rights" because of his stance on campaign finance reform.

It also knocks McCain for sponsoring "a bill designed to cripple a legal industry by extracting $516 billion from tobacco smokers," for supporting ground troops to Kosovo and "playing class warfare demagoguery."

Much of the meeting was taken up with the nuts and bolts of putting together a local campaign -- getting out lists of Republican voters to be called and reminding Bush supporters to vote just before the primary.

"The way you win elections is by getting your voters to the polls," Sauerbrey said.

Pub Date: 2/13/00

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