Party leaders endorse Schaefer

State comptroller vows aggressive campaign

July 31, 2002|By Tim Craig | Tim Craig,SUN STAFF

In a decisive show of support, most of Maryland's elected Democratic leaders endorsed state Comptroller William Donald Schaefer's bid for re-election yesterday.

Schaefer, 80, is seeking a second term, but Secretary of State John T. Willis is challenging him for the Democratic nomination in the September primary.

About a dozen elected officials - including both of the state's U.S. senators, the leaders of the General Assembly and several Democratic county executives - spoke at a breakfast rally in Baltimore yesterday and declared they are supporting Schaefer.

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a friend of Willis who often spars with Schaefer, was the only statewide elected officeholder not at the event.

Schaefer told the supporters he was not taking the election for granted and vowed to conduct an aggressive campaign. He also said another term was critical for his health and well being. "I don't have grandchildren and I don't play golf," the former governor and Baltimore mayor said. "If I would retire right now, I would be gone in a year. I would wither away."

A poll released by The Sun last week showed Schaefer leading Willis by a wide margin among Democratic voters, 62 percent to 18 percent.

Willis discounted the endorsements. "I think it reflects a different approach," he said.

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