Taylor, who represents Allegany County, painted a moderate image of the Democratic Party in Maryland, saying that Democrats recognize government's limitations but also its benefits. He predicted voters will endorse this view and reject Sauerbrey, who narrowly lost a gubernatorial bid to Gov. Parris N. Glendening three years ago.
"In the mainstream, you don't call government the enemy and you don't call government the solution," he said. "Government is the catalyst."
Taylor spent much of the evening basking in praise from fellow Democrats, particularly Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, who introduced him.
Donoghue said Taylor was the force behind health insurance reform and a state income tax cut.
He drew vigorous applause from the partisan audience when he mentioned Taylor's efforts to help the county delegation overturn the Washington County Commissioners' decision to decertify the union representing about 90 county employees.
"Cas Taylor and the Washington County delegation fixed that," Donoghue said. "Without Cas' help, we would not have been able to do that."
Taylor urged party unity, adding that leaders should put duty above personal ambitions.
"We Democrats know that if we get the job done, there's plenty of credit for everybody," he said. "That's what makes us successful."
Democrats honored two local party members for years of service.
Patricia K. Cushwa, who was recently tapped to head the Maryland Parole Commission, was named Democrat of the Year.
Democrats also honored Washington County Orphan's Court Judge Mary R. Baker with its lifetime achievement award.