Campaign notes

July 13, 1998

When he announced last week he was dropping out of Maryland's gubernatorial campaign, Democrat Ray Schoenke stood in front of the State House in Annapolis and called for party unity in backing incumbent Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

With a divided Democratic party, the governor's race could be won by Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey, he said.

"It is time to be unified in our support for a Democratic candidate and the people want the incumbent. I will not let my candidacy be responsible for putting Ellen Sauerbrey and her extremist policies in the State House," said Schoenke, a Montgomery County, Md., businessman and former Washington Redskins player.

The irony behind such a statement is that for the past six months, Schoenke has been waging an almost nonstop campaign to attack and discredit Glendening, routinely portraying the governor as a professional politician beholden to special interests.


* A Schoenke campaign pamphlet, released in January, stated, "For the past three years, Maryland's chief executive officer has operated with one principle in mind his political self-interest."
* In an April 1 visit to Hagerstown, Schoenke criticized Glendening for spending millions of taxpayer dollars on a new football stadium for the Baltimore Ravens.
* In an April 23 news release, Schoenke said Glendening makes policies "based on checks from campaign contributors."
* In a June 4 news release, Schoenke campaign manager Cheryl Benton said Glendening "has had the 'for sale' sign out for years" in order to raise campaign contributions.
* Two weeks ago, Schoenke accused Glendening of misrepresenting the facts of an alleged budget surplus in Prince George's County, Md., where Glendening served as county executive before being elected governor in 1994. Benton said "distorting numbers is Parris' stock and trade."

So why the sudden change of heart?


Schoenke's former campaign spokesman, Chuck Miller, said there was concern that the challenger's candidacy - viewed by most political observers as a longshot - would splinter the party and open the door for Sauerbrey.

"We just don't believe her policies are in keeping with the progressive views of the people of Maryland," Miller said.

He said Schoenke had a face-to-face meeting with the governor last week and later the two spoke on the phone.

"It's better to be on the same team and airing those concerns than opposing each other," Miller said.

Glendening is welcoming the support of his former rival, said spokesman Len Foxwell.

"(Schoenke) brings to the party and the Glendening team a fresh perspective and creative ideas," Foxwell said.

As for Schoenke's constant attacks on Glendening, Foxwell simply chalked it up to the way the political game is often played.

"Politics is a tough sport," he said.

Bruchey attends Muldowney event

Among the handful of people who came out for former Maryland legislator Paul D. Muldowney's press conference last Tuesday to announce his bid for the House of Delegates was Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

Muldowney is a Democrat and Bruchey is a Republican.

During the press conference in front of City Hall, Muldowney pledged he would work harder for Hagerstown's interests in the General Assembly than the current "leadership," meaning incumbent Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

Bruchey thanked Muldowney for his willingness to help the city, including possibly working on bringing city and county officials closer together on certain issues.

But Bruchey said his appearance should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Muldowney. He said he will not support political candidates until after the Sept. 15 primary election.

"At this point, I am a nonpartisan person," he said.

In defense of 'vultures'

When county Republican Central Committee member Vincent Dellaposta compared the mass of County Commissioners candidates to "vultures," it was predictable the hopefuls would take offense.

But it was more than the negative comparison that perturbed Democrat Joe Swope, one of 29 candidates for the five-member board.

Swope, an environmental activist who is a member of the Sierra Club, took umbrage at the slight against vultures.

"I found that demeaning," he said during the citizens' comment portion of the commissioners' meeting last week. "Vultures are an important part of the ecosystem and they're just trying to clean up a mess someone else made."

- Guy Fletcher and Brendan Kirby

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