Campaign notes

July 05, 1998

During the past couple of weeks, those campaigning against Gov. Parris N. Glendening in this year's gubernatorial race have frequently criticized him for the financial condition he left behind in Prince George's County, where he served as county executive until being elected governor in 1994.

The governor has insisted he left the county with a $48 million surplus.

But his opponents charge Glendening's lack of fiscal expertise left the county drifting toward a budget shortfall of more than $100 million.

So what's the truth? Probably a little bit - but not all - of both.

The state Department of Legislative services determined that much of Glendening's "surplus" was actually earmarked for new spending programs, with only little remaining for emergencies, according to a story last week in The (Baltimore) Sun.

The state agency concluded in its March 1995 report that Prince George's County, which recently cut income taxes and gave its employees raises, was facing a $106.9 million deficit by the end of 1996.


"The numbers don't lie. Parris Glendening claimed that Prince George's County had a surplus to get himself elected governor. Clearly, distorting numbers is Parris' stock and trade," said Cheryl Benton, campaign manager for Democratic challenger Ray Schoenke.

Glendening campaign spokes-man Len Foxwell called the deficit talk "urban myths." He said Glendening left Prince George's County with a surplus, and cannot be judged on the county's financial condition after he left office.

"That's not the way the budgetary process works," Foxwell said.

Dems launch 'Sauerbrey Watch'

The Maryland Democratic Party last week launched the "Sauerbrey Truth Patrol," an effort to paint GOP gubernatorial front-runner Ellen R. Sauerbrey as an extremist, right-wing candidate.

"Ellen Sauerbrey, the candidate, wants to distance herself from the 16 years of extremist votes cast by Delegate Ellen Sauerbrey," Democratic Party Chairman Peter Krauser said in a statement. "But she can't hide from her anti-environment, anti-gun control, anti-civil rights and anti-education voting record."

The effort ties in with a "Sauerbrey Watch" the party has maintained on its Web site for a number of months.

The Sauerbrey campaign dismissed the effort as a desperate ploy by Glendening to hide his own shortcomings.

"It's more hysterical name-calling by Parris Glendening," campaign spokesman Jim Dornan said.

The points contained in a news release and on the Web site include:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Sauerbrey's votes against an assault weapons ban.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Sauerbrey's vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1992, which beefed up enforcement of anti-discrimination policies.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Sauerbrey's proposals to cut education spending while she was minority leader in the House of Delegates and her 1994 proposal to fund vouchers to help parents send their children to private school.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Sauerbrey's record on the environment, which the League of Conservation Voters rated the worst in the legislature between 1991 and 1994.

"That group hasn't endorsed a Republican in years. Its credibility is nil," Dornan said.

But Krauser said Democrats will not allow Sauerbrey to moderate her image.

"Every time candidate Sauerbrey attempts to sidestep the right-wing policies of Delegate Sauerbrey, we will be there to tell voters the truth," he said.

Judicial endorsements

Two Washington County Circuit Court judges have won the backing of the Maryland State Bar Association.

Judges W. Kennedy Boone III and Donald E. Beachley, are running for full terms. Both were appointed by Glendening to fill vacancies.

The state bar association said the duo, along with the other sitting judges it endorsed, are the best-qualified candidates.

"These individuals are of the highest caliber and have served Maryland with distinction in the performance of their judicial duties as evidenced by their records," the group said in a statement.

Gregory C. Bannon, who is challenging Beachley and Boone for a judgeship, said he was unaware the state bar was making an endorsement.

"I'm kind of surprised because they never asked me about anything," he said. "I don't know if I was considered, but it wouldn't be the first time."

The latter quote was a reference to Bannon's frustration with the judicial appointment process.

He withdrew his name from consideration in 1996 because he said Glendening interviewed only one of the three candidates - Boone.

"The lawyers can do what they want to do. Ultimately, it will be the voters of Washington County who will decide," Bannon said.

- Guy Fletcher and Brendan Kirby

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