Schaefer makes early endorsement

Comptroller says he'd back Duncan for governor in '06

October 02, 2004|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Hopes of a reconciliation between a current and former Baltimore mayor were dashed yesterday when Maryland Comptroller William Donald Schaefer said he plans to endorse Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan in the Democratic primary for governor in 2006.

Schaefer's pledge came in an interview on WTOP radio in Washington, in which the former governor and mayor repeated his criticism of Mayor Martin O'Malley.

"Martin O'Malley is so ambitious," Schaefer said. "He wants to be president, vice president. And his whole motivation is built on one thing: what makes him look good."

WTOP political analyst Mark Plotkin then asked if Schaefer's comments meant the comptroller would endorse Duncan in a primary.

"In a primary, yes I would," Schaefer said. "Yes I would. I'm a strong Democrat, in the primary."

Schaefer called Duncan an "honorable man" and "smart as a whip."

While neither has announced his intentions, O'Malley and Duncan are expected to seek the Democratic nomination for governor in 2006.

A vocal supporter of Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., Schaefer made no mention of whom he would prefer in the general election.

A spokesmen for Duncan, a three-term incumbent, declined to comment on Schaefer's endorsement. "The county executive is focused on his current job, but obviously appreciates the comptroller's support," David Weaver said.

O'Malley aides brushed off the news.

"It seems a little premature, since there are no candidates yet," spokesman Steve Kearney said. "But we certainly respect the comptroller's right to speak his mind."

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