She wants her check in the mail

THE POLITICAL GAME

Refund: A state senator has asked her opponent to return the campaign donation she made, now that they're after the same seat.

August 06, 2002|By David Nitkin and Howard Libit | David Nitkin and Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

BEFORE A court-ordered redistricting plan turned them against each other, state Sen. Barbara A. Hoffman of Baltimore was a strong backer of Del. Lisa A. Gladden, the public defender who is considered one of Baltimore's rising legislative stars.

How strong? Hoffman wrote a $1,000 check to Gladden's re-election campaign in the spring, after the close of the General Assembly session.

"I really do try to mentor young women," said Hoffman, 62, the chairwoman of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.

But the Court of Appeals' legislative map placed Hoffman and Gladden, 37, in the same district in Northwest Baltimore. When Sen. Clarence W. Blount announced his retirement, Gladden - with the support of much of the city's African-American political leadership - decided to challenge Hoffman in the reconfigured 41st District.

So Hoffman has asked for her money to be returned.

"I wrote her a little letter that said, `Under the circumstances, you should give it back,'" Hoffman said. "That would be the honorable thing to do."

Honorable, perhaps. But practical? Unclear.

According to the most recent campaign finance reports, filed in November, Hoffman had more than $200,000 in available cash, compared with about $19,000 for Gladden. So it's not surprising that with a competitive race, Gladden hasn't responded to the request yet.

"I haven't gotten it back," Hoffman said yesterday.

Comptroller compliments elicit a gentle reminder

One name was conspicuously absent from many of the speeches given during last week's endorsement breakfast for Comptroller William Donald Schaefer.

As Democrat after Democrat came forward to praise Schaefer and support his re-election campaign, it seemed as though Louis L. Goldstein was just a distant memory.

Goldstein served as Maryland's comptroller from his election in 1958 until his death just four months before the 1998 election. But there was former Del. Timothy F. Maloney - master of ceremonies for the breakfast - calling Schaefer "Maryland's greatest comptroller ever."

After more than a half-hour of speeches, Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. reminded the crowd that a popular and beloved politician held the comptroller's position before Schaefer.

"If there's ever a person who could fill the shoes of Louis Goldstein, who was a wonderful person, it's Don Schaefer," Curran said.

State GOP moves to cool heated rhetoric in 1st

A conservative challenge to Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest is rubbing some Maryland Republicans the wrong way these days.

David W. Fischer, a Timonium lawyer, has secured the backing of the National Rifle Association and is raising money quickly to try to unseat the moderate Eastern Shore congressman in next month's Republican primary.

But some of his comments are earning him the scorn of state GOP officials - including statements that Gilchrest is "radically pro-choice" and "a strident supporter of gay rights and even gay adoption."

Last week, Paul D. Ellington, executive director of the Maryland Republican Party, wrote a letter to Fischer asking him to remember the campaign rule of former President Ronald Reagan: "Thou shall not speak ill of other Republicans."

Ellington said he stepped in to prevent fractures between the party's conservative and moderate wings from damaging the gubernatorial prospects of Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

"We have to run a near-perfect race to win the governor's race," Ellington said. "We don't need internal divisions getting in the way."

Nevertheless, Fischer's challenge appears to have Gilchrest at least a little worried.

"It seems as though a wealthy attorney from Baltimore has recently decided to come over and jump into the First District race ... and has begun a very negative, derogatory campaign against me," Gilchrest wrote in an appeal to his supporters. "While we have no illusions of trying to out-raise all of this out-of-state money, we do need to make sure we can run a credible campaign for the Sept. 10 primary."

Hurson becomes next in group's line of succession

Del. John Adams Hurson, a Montgomery County Democrat, was elected vice president of the National Conference of State Legislatures at the group's annual meeting in Denver last month.

The selection puts Hurson in line to become in two years the group's president, a post that alternates between Republicans and Democrats.

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